Deal To Build ‘All Samoan’ Undersea Cable Finalized

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Fiber to connect Samoas to Fiji, bring cheaper internet

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 6, 2016) – An all Samoan initiative in a public and private partnership to build an undersea submarine cable from Samoa to Fiji, has high expectations to deliver improved connectivity and cheaper internet rates for the Samoan users in the long term.

The signing ceremony of the Equity Investors for the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), went ahead in Apia yesterday.

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi said that the Samoa Submarine Cable Company is a private public partnership in Samoa and possible model on how this cooperative can be a sustainable model to be used to deliver social benefits to all of our people.

The US$49 million project will be carried out as a private/public partnership with financing from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the newly established Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC).

"It’s a marriage of convenience of Samoa telecom carriers such as Bluesky, Digicel and CSL and the Samoa financial investors such as UTOS, SNFP & SLAC," said Tuilaepa.

Information and communication technology is recognized as an increasingly powerful tool for the delivery of basic services and enhancing local development opportunities as well as participating in the global economy.

"The Samoa Connectivity Project is an all Samoan initiative. Samoan owned to benefit the people of Samoa," he said.

Samoa’s Submarine cable is a key infrastructure project that can deliver extra ordinary benefits across Samoa’s education, health, business, tourism and other sectors for decades to come.

The project is expected to bring economic and social benefits to our people with significantly more reliable and affordable internet connectivity.

The improved connectivity will support the country’s businesses and tourism sectors and enable improved access to information on health, education and job opportunities.

The submarine cable is expected to come into service mid-2017.

When implemented, the cable will strengthen Samoa’s communication links to the world. The cable will be 1300 km long linking Samoa’s major islands of Upolu and Savaii to the Southern Cross network in Suva, Fiji.

The new cable will allow existing carriers to reduce internet costs substantially.

Building such a cable required significant investigations and study. Funded by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Samoa was able to deploy an expert consultant team. The team came up with eight options.

"The decision to build a cable from Samoa to Fiji is by far the best choice and will support Samoa’s demands for decades to come," said Tuilaepa.

"The cable also has the potential to benefit Samoa’s regional neighbours such as Wallis & Futuna and Vanualevu in Fiji."

The new cable will have enough capacity to improve global internet connectivity and will bring a wealth of benefits such as:

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