AMERICAN SAMOA BUYS INTEREST IN UNDERSEA CABLE

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By La Poasa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Samoa News, Sept. 4) – American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono signed last week in Honolulu a letter of intent "with the other three parties to the redeployment of the Pacific Rim (PacRim) East cable from American Samoa to Hawaii."

The governor did not identify who the three parties are.

Togiola, who was in meetings with the parties last week in Honolulu, said in a statement that the document "is to approve the parties to move forward with the development of the project, securing financing, and ultimately to develop the purchase and sale agreement for the cable."

He said the American Samoa Government (ASG) will advance a total of $9 million over the next three years, instead of the original proposal of $18 million, to assist in the security of the financing of the project.

ASG will acquire one-third ownership of the company that will own the cable and will be entitled to one third of all the profits from the venture.

The governor said he will consult with the legislature regarding the project and if plans fall in place, the cable could be up and running in the territory by July of next year.

"I will be contacting the Fono when I return to work out the rest of the financing requirements and to bring them up to speed on how this project will work," said Togiola. "If all goes according to schedule, the cable could be available for service by the second quarter of 2008."

The fiber optic Pacific Rim East cable operates at optical wavelength, a higher frequency than other undersea communications systems. It uses modulated laser light to carry the information, and all laser repeaters have redundant backup units, which switch in if the main laser fails.

"I am optimistic and I trust that all the partners in this venture want this cable lighted up as soon as we can," said the governor.

The governor is due back on island on Sept. 9.

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