Breaking ground for the Samoa Submarine Cable Corporation (SSCC) landing at Vaivase. (L-R) Southern Cross Networks CEO Anthony Briscoe, Minister of Finance Sili Epa, Reverend Siolo Tauati, Maeva Betham-Vaai Asian Development Bank and Rosemary McKay of the Australian High Commission office
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 06 FEBRUARY 2017: Today marks the beginning of the next joint project between the Samoa Submarine Cable Corporation (SSCC) and the Southern Cross Project Next, in fulfilling Samoa’s dream to be the cable hub for Central Polynesia.
In her keynote address, at the groundbreaking ceremony for SSCC landing station at Vaivase, the Acting Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataafa highlighted the importance of this partnership in-order for Samoa to become not on the cable hub for Polynesia but also for the region.
She said the project will enhance the prospects of winning the rights to also connect the Pacific Connectivity Project submarine cable from Tahiti at this cable landing station.
Southern Cross Networks Chief Executive Officer Anthony Briscoe reiterated the importance of Fiamē’s words.
“The continued need for greater connectivity in order to bridge the digital divide for the Pacific is core to Southern Cross involvement in the Pacific region. We are pleased to work with Samoa as a hub to help them enhance broadband connectivity for Region,” said Briscoe.
Fiamē on behalf of SSCC relayed Samoa’s commitment in working with Southern Cross Cables “to be your reliable and trusted partner and to fulfill our ambition to be the cable hub for central Polynesia.”
SSCC and Southern Cross are the two major entities behind the Tui Samoa Cable, which is currently drawing interests from other Pacific islands.
The Tui-Samoa cable is an 8 terabit system which will connect Samoa (Upolu and Savai’i), the Territories of Wallis & Fatuna and Vanua Levu to Suva on the Fiji mainland.
Fiamē said the major milestones since Tui Samoa cable was launched, was the setting up of the submarine cable company as a public private functional entity with funds by the Samoan Government, sources from other Government bodies, and equity funding from the private sectors and partners.
“The company is making the required investments in both corporate government and commercial to deliver out there a strong business case, in order to provide internet services to Samoa, in accordance with the Government mandate,” said Fiamē.
The other milestone was the partnership with Southern Cross networks and the historical signing of a partnership between Samoa, the territorial of Wallis and Futuna and the Government of Fiji, and the agreement with Alcatel Network to supply SSCC materials.
“The strategy for development for Samoa is set out in the Government’s vision to improve the lives of all Samoans, and Tui Samoa Cable was one of the key elements that will help us achieve that goal,” said Fiamē.
She said these achievements have “given our pacific neighbours a feel of regional cooperation, and real physical presence, and provide the Government of Samoa with the emphasis to look for more avenues to facilitate partnerships with other Pacific islands in this new cable project.”
This is specifically bringing digital services to islands who have not had submarine cables such as the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.
Fiamē also said the Government of Samoa and her partners through the Samoa connectivity project have committed to an aggressive implementation time frame to deliver the benefits of the submarine cable to the Samoan people.
These services will improve domestic hydro connectivity in Apia, Vaitele, Tuana’imato, Tuasivi and Salelologa, Savaii, with the major one of bringing onboard Wallis and Futuna and Fiji.
“It will provide school children in rural villages the same access to information that children in developed countries take for granted, it will provide local Samoan businesses the platform to promote their goods and services and compete in international markets, and it will also allow our Government to fast track our National Digital Economy Strategy in order to provide eGovernment services to our people,” said Fiamē.