Tuvalu Shows Interest In Joining Tui Samoa Submarine Cable Project

Country currently uses satellite service for internet access

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 27, 2017) – Tuvalu is the latest Pacific island nation to show interest in being part of the Tui Samoa submarine cable that will be delivered in September this year.

Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister Ma’atia Toafa was in Apia early this week and visited the Survey Vessel Geo Explorer that is completing the mapping survey of the ocean floor before the laying of the cable between Fiji, Wallis Futuna and Samoa.

“Our visit here is to learn more about the arrangement on what Samoa is working on, especially on the submarine cable which is a very attractive initiative for connectivity for all small island nations.”

He said in the Pacific, island boundaries are far, scattered, remote and isolated and having a cable on hand helps connect them easily and fast.

“We need to have sustainable, more reliable and affordable connectivity,” said Toafa.

Tuvalu currently relies on a satellite system for internet connectivity but according to Toafa said that the preference now is the cable.

“We need a more sustainable system and we are mindful of the cost of the initial capital outline required for connectivity,” he said.

His delegations visit was to discuss with Samoan authorities and will take that information to their Government.

“I am hopeful a decision can be made for us soon, to take on or look elsewhere,” he said.

He explained that Tuvalu is paying 14%  more than the market value for the satellite system they are currently using.

“I can’t imagine a small and isolated, not rich Tuvalu, but paying more than the market price. There is some rip off somewhere so, we need to assess and review this properly,” said Toafa.

He said the visit has been very fruitful and very important for them, and was grateful for the opportunity to visit the survey vessel.

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Hopefully the government will bring more improvement on our communication system..

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