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Hawaiki touted to be the Pacific hub connection to the US

ASTCA building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the Hawaiki submarine cable, American Samoa can be the Pacific hub connection to the US — for the Pacific — where some island countries including Samoa have already inquired about capacity pricing from the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA).

So says ASTCA acting chief executive officer, Falaovaoto Sualevai during her power-point presentation at last Thursday’s official launching of the $29 million American Samoa branching unit of Hawaiki cable. 

The ASG Employees' Retirement Fund invested in the multi-million-dollar project.

Sualevai proudly told the audience at the ASCC Multi Purpose Center, that the Hawaiki cable system allows ASTCA to expand its capacity from 50 to 200 gigabytes, and the most noticeable change is improved internet speed from 768 kilobytes to 5 megabytes.

With the Hawaiki cable that went live last Thursday, “we are able to access 50 gigabytes between American Samoa and the [US] mainland,” she said, adding that “we anticipate that as a result of this [Hawaiki] milestone, we expect to achieve 42% growth annually in internet capacity over the next 10 years.”

Data of Sualevai's presentation shows that prior to Hawaiki, internet capacity in American Samoa grew 17% annually between 1998 and 2008; and 25% annually between 2008 and 2018.

(Samoa News notes that in July 2009, the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH-Cable) LLC, was officially launched, connecting American Samoa to Hawaii. This undersea fiber optic cable is 33% owned by ASG and majority owned by Florida-based eLandia International.)

With access to 50 gigabytes between American Samoa and the mainland, “this means that ASTCA can now finally fully utilize the BLAST network to its full potential,” she said. “It also means ASTCA is now able to compete in the market by providing true high speed internet to business and residential [customers].”

Also with Hawaiki, “American Samoa is now able to provide high speed capacity at lower rates at competitive prices to the Pacific,” she continued, noting that ASTCA has reached out to French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue and connect to American Samoa.”

She revealed that ASTCA “very recently received requests from Samoa and a few Pacific island countries for capacity pricing. So this proves the commercial potential of our investment in Hawaiki.”

With the official launch, Sualevai is convinced that American Samoa will “be able to realize our vision to provide a regional hub opportunity”.

The acting ASTCA CEO also discussed some of the services available to “move us to the digital age”, with Hawaiki through e-health, e-commerce, e-government. Additionally, Hawaiki helps American Samoa join the rest of the world in the state of technological development.

“Your team here at ASTCA has been working hard to create a new connectivity hub for the Pacific,” that could bring  “our neighbors to transit through us,” she said, adding that it will also generate much needed stimulation for the local economy.