Still no FCC decision on petition to buy local Bluesky licensees
Pago Pago, American Samoa — Fiji-based Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH), has established a U.S holding company that will take over Bluesky Communications’ assets in American Samoa, according to the company’s latest filing with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has yet to rule on ATH’s petition to acquire Bluesky licensees.
On the other hand, FCC has granted the license for the Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP to land and operate a new undersea fiber optic in US locations, including American Samoa.
ATH AND BLUESKY
Early last year, the FCC sought public comments on the “applications filed for the transfer of control” of AST Telecom LLC dba Bluesky, American Samoa Hawaii Cable LLC (ASH-Cable), and Samoa American Samoa Cable LLC, from Spain-based Amper S.A. to ATH and requested a declaratory rule on foreign ownership. FCC online records show no public comments received during the comment period.
The applications also state that once the acquisition is completed, and approved by federal authorities, a new US holding company or — ‘U.S. HoldCo’ — will be formed to take over Bluesky’s assets in American Samoa.
As of yesterday morning, FCC public records show that no decision has been made on the petition. However, a Washington D.C. based law firm representing the applicants, filed last month a supplemental letter to the original petition regarding the formation of a US holding company.
According to the Feb. 8, 2018 letter, ATH has formed a wholly owned U.S.-incorporated holding company that will purchase the entire issued and outstanding member interests of AST.
The company’s name is Amalgamated Bluesky Telecom Holdings Incorporated, and is organized under the laws of the state of Delaware. Its address is Level 2, Harbour Front Building, Rodwell Rd., G.P.O. Box 11643, Suva, Fiji Islands.
The letter also informs the FCC about a new foreign carrier affiliated with ATH, which last year acquired 100% of shares of Telecom Vanuatu Limited. Neither ATH nor Telecom Vanuatu owns or controls a cable landing station in Vanuatu.
“Upon consummation of the proposed transaction, the Bluesky Licensees also will become affiliated with Telecom Vanuatu,” the letter says.
In March 2017, the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Homeland Security requested, and the FCC complied, to defer action on the petition, pending completion of the two agencies’ national security and law enforcement review.
As of yesterday morning, there’s been no new update from the two federal agencies on whether or not their review is completed.
As reported by Samoa News this past Monday, Hawaiki cable is on schedule to be operational later this year in June, with the cable-laying vessel set to arrive in the territory next month.
Samoa News has received inquiries on whether Hawaiki applied and received FCC approval for cable landing and operation in American Samoa.
FCC public records state that an application was filed in October 2016 by Hawaiki Submarine Cable USA LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Zealand based Hawaiki Submarine Cable Limited Partnership), Tillamook Lightwave IGA, ACS Cable Systems, LLC, DRFortress, LLC (DRFortress) and American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) (collectively, the Applicants) for a license to land and operate a non-common carrier fiber-optic submarine cable between the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, to be called the Hawaiki Cable System.
The FCC approved the application Dec. 19, 2017 and Hawaiki itself announced the approval last December, but there were no specific details.
According to the applicants, Hawaiki will have five segments and land in five locations. One of the segments — Segment 5 — will connect a branching unit (BU) on New Zealand to Hawai’i fiber pair to Tafuna, American Samoa, and will have 2 fiber pairs with a total capacity of 100- 200 gigabits per second (Gbps).
ASTCA will own, construct and operate the spur connecting American Samoa to the branching unit on Hawaiki cable. ASCTA will also own, construct and operate the cable landing station in Tafuna, according to FCC records.
According to the applicants, Hawaiki will increase competition on the U.S.-Australia-New Zealand routes and enhance the service quality, redundancy, and resilience of communications systems in the region.
Upon deployment, Hawaiki will immediately and significantly increase regional and transpacific capacity, providing an alternative and diverse transmission route from the US mainland to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and American Samoa.
FCC records and filings can be accessed online at: www.fcc.gov