Lolo calls for all ASG telecommunication needs to be handled by ASTCA
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has directed that all purchases by American Samoa Government entities regarding telecommunication needs should only be with the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority, not its “competitor”.
The governor’ s directive was outlined in an Aug. 15 memo, titled “Support of Government Owned Assets” to all chief executive officers and directors of ASG authorities, departments and offices.
According to the governor, it “makes no economic and financial sense for components” of ASG “not to lend support or to patronize services offered by other government entities.”
“While authority to lead and manage your respective authority, department, or office, has been delegated statutorily to you,” Lolo said, “we are bound together and under the umbrella of the American Samoa Government thus impelling us to function collaboratively to ensure that all units of government are operationalized optimally.”
“Accordingly,” said the governor, the “above philosophy and ideology should be practiced consistently and uniformly” throughout the government.
“Regrettably, this is not the case when it comes to telecommunication needs of authorities, departments and offices,” he wrote, adding that the assumption that all authorities, departments and offices “exclusively deploy” the services of ASTCA for all their telecommunications is now deemed flawed since there are units of government obtaining telecommunication services from “ASTCA’s competitor.”
“In light of this revelation, this Policy Pronouncement is articulated requiring all instrumentalities of the American Samoa Government to procure telecommunication services from the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority,” the governor said.
“We can find all types of excuses to justify our current practice of purchasing telecommunication services from another vendor,” the governor points out. “We cannot continue to undermine the viability of this asset of the American Samoa Government.”
Lolo didn’t identify the “competitor” or “another vendor” by name, however, it’s common knowledge to those in government — and others in the private sector who have read the memo — that the governor is referring to Bluesky Communications, which is currently marking its 18th anniversary serving American Samoa.
Two major telecommunication services in which ASTCA and Bluesky are competitors are the internet and cellular phones. Samoa News understands that there are some departments using both of these services offered by Bluesky, and many senior ASG officials have Bluesky cell phones for their private use.
Samoa News should point out that the American Samoa government owns 33% of the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH Cable), with the rest owned by AMPER, SA which last year sold its interest to the Fiji based group that has also bought Amper’s majority interest in the Bluesky Group, which includes Bluesky operations in the two Samoas, Cook Islands and New Zealand.
ASH Cable provides the international fiber optic between American Samoa, Samoa and Hawai’i.
In the meantime, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has hired the former President and CEO of the Bluesky Group, Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro as a consultant to the government on matters having to do with communications in the Territory, including appointing Aoe’e to serve on the ASH Cable Board of Directors. The governor has noted that the final decision on the telecommunication infrastructure option to be adopted and supported by the American Samoa Government rests with him as the governor.
Recently Bluesky’s Samoa operation was granted a license in Samoa under its new owners, while the American Samoa operation is still awaiting word from the Federal Communications Commission for approval of its license(s) to operate in the territory, under the Fiji-owned group.