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ASTCA only semi autonomous agency that submitted a 4th quarter report for FY 2012

fili@samoanews.com

Despite stiff local telecommunication competition year-round and a drop in revenue collection during the 4th quarter of the last fiscal year, the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) collected over $19 million at the end of fiscal year 2012, which closed on Sept. 30, 2012, according to the semi autonomous ASG agency in their last quarter report for FY 2012.

ASTCA’s approved FY 2012 budget was $15 million and during budget hearings last year, some lawmakers were concerned with what they called a “small budget” for an authority, but ASTCA executive director Aleki Sene Sr. said that although there are many areas of telecommunication that need improvement as well as meeting federal regulations, it was safe to project $15 million due to the uncertainty in the local and world economies.

According to ASTCA’s FY 2012 fourth quarter performance report, total revenue collected at the end of the fiscal year came to $19.50 million while total revenue collected just in the 4th quarter came to $5.37 million.

Total expenditures at the end of FY 2012 stood at $16.25 million while total FY 2012 encumbrances to date equaled $1.37 million, according to the performance report, which also has total expenditures just for the 4th quarter at $4.08 million.

Because the report is unaudited and covers only the 4th quarter, it’s unclear if ASTCA is looking at a surplus in FY 2012.

ASTCA was the only semi autonomous agency that submitted a 4th quarter report for FY 2012. The fourth quarter is from July 1 to Sept. 30 each fiscal year.

BLAST PROJECT

Samoa News should point out that ASTCA’s approved budget is separate from the Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory (BLAST) project, funded with more than $90 million in federal stimulus money.

For this project— at the end of the 4th quarter— ASTCA had completed plans for inside plant design and equipment and finalized contracts for the network equipment build-out part, the performance report says.  According to the report, the project work is still ongoing and in various stages.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Fourth quarter accomplishments include the continued expansion of DSL service to residential and business internet users territory-wide with over 59 new DSL subscribers added, hiking the number of DSL users. It says the increase in users is because of the undersea fiber optic cable.

Also in the 4th quarter, ASTCA added 50 new landline subscribers to its local network; however, the report didn’t say whether there was a drop or increase in cell phone subscribers.

IMPEDIMENTS

The performance report states that ASTCA capital improvement projects are funded entirely from revenue it generates through various telecommunications services it offers to the public; therefore a project cannot start or be implemented unless adequate funds are collected and set aside.

At the end of the 4th quarter, ASTCA had spent over $2 million in system upgrades and capital improvement projects.

ASTCA also states that— like most enterprises on island— “ASTCA is also experiencing a sharp drop in its revenue collection efforts,” and hopes this condition will reverse as new industries are attracted to do business in the territory.



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