The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupa’i
By Rula Su’a- Va’ai
APIA, SAMOA WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2019: The signing of a contract between the American Submarine Company – TE Subcom with the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), promises a $6 million tala injection into the economy per year and job opportunities for Samoa.
The contract means building a 4000sq meters warehouse at the Matautu wharf to house the undersea communication systems that will service the Pacific and the Oceania. The contract also sees the bringing in of a Submarine Maintenance Vessel that will maintain and service communication cables in the Pacific and will provide job opportunities for Samoa.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupa’i today saying that it required a lot of work from his ministry and stakeholders in attracting TE Subcom Company to Samoa.
“It wasn’t easy, as there were other companies from the Pacific who attempted to win the contract,” he said.
“However, our main focus which aligns with our government vision is to improve connectivity to the outside world, generate job opportunities and financial benefits for the development of Samoa.”
The submarine warehouse according to the minister will be selling all spare parts for undersea communication cables, and if it is required from any Pacific country, it will be transferred to the submarine maintenance vessel to carry out the service.
“Of course we benefit from the fees. It is a one of its kind in the Pacific and because of our central location in the Pacific Ocean; it is accessible to our Pacific neighbours.”
The maintenance vessel is in New Caledonia en route to Samoa, with about 60 people mainly Philippines working on board.
“The Government aims at 50% of the crew to be our own people in the next 2-3 years.”
Afamasaga added that they are now looking at working together with the National University of Samoa Maritime School, in training and teaching the students with specific skills of servicing and maintaining undersea communication cables. “Thus providing employment opportunities and will use their skills for overseas jobs.”
The submarine warehouse and vessel are all in line with the arrival of Tui Samoa Cable next week and the Manatua cable expected to land in June this year.
Tui Samoa cable will be launch on Friday 9 February, marking the government’s promise of delivering the cable to provide high speed telecommunications with the outside world and locally.
The minister pointed out that the service will not be at full capacity at its start.
“I must say that once it’s launched, it is not going to be supersonic in its service, it will be gradual.”
Both the Tui Samoa and Manatua cables according to Afamasaga, will act as backup for each other.