BLAST project passes federal audit \with flying colors\ according to CEO
American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority CEO Moefa’auo William Emmsley announced last week that the multi million dollar BLAST project passed with “flying colors” an audit by the federal grantor.
The $91 million BLAST project — Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory — is funded with $81 million in grant money and $10 million in loans through stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (USDA-RUS), which set compliance requirements ASTCA must meet and adhere to.
In a news release dated June 25, received by Samoa News last Friday afternoon, Moefa’auo is quoted saying that ASTCA just completed the first financial audit since the BLAST project was awarded.
“I am happy to report that ASTCA passed the audit with flying colors. The USDA-RUS auditor who completed the audit stated that there was only one item of concern, an administrative issue, which was addressed immediately,” Moefa’auo said. “It is critically important that the USDA remain confident in our ability to successfully implement the BLAST project.”
“While there still remains a great deal of work ahead before the project is completed, it is great to know that our finance and accounting department is working hard to ensure that we are exceeding our grantor’s expectations,” he said.
And while the BLAST project continues to unfold in the public eye with the ongoing construction work being done by Michel’s, “ASTCA’s finance and accounting team is hard at work behind the scenes ensuring that all compliance issues are being handled accordingly.” he said.
The BLAST project is expected to be completed as scheduled by the 2nd quarter of 2015, according to the news release.
The U.S. based Michel’s is the contractor laying the underground cable line for the project, which ASTCA said in 2012 “will deliver ultra-high-speed data, next-generation voice services, and new internet protocol television (IPTV) services across the islands.”
Moefa’auo told reporters early this year that the cable lines being laid underground - which were begun in the Bay Area— will extend to every business, home and institution in the territory and “that is part of the business plan that ASTCA has put forward.”
“The cable line that we’re pulling to the home, will basically bring three functions: telephone, Internet and IPTV, or TV programming,” he said.
Last Friday on KVZK-TV, ASTCA officials hosted a 30-minute program explaining some of their services and improvements, including the BLAST project.
O3b Networks announced last week that beginning July 10 they would be launching a second set of satellites in their unique, ‘next-generation’ network. The first set of four satellites was launched in June 2013.
The ASTCA and O3b Networks agreement for O3b to provide up to 1.2Gbps of future broadband connectivity for Internet and other services for American Samoa was announced in early 2013.
A third group of satellites are due to launch in the first quarter of 2015, with the company able to expand its network depending on customer demand.
The O3b system combines the global reach of satellite with the speed of a fiber‐optic network providing billions of consumers and businesses in nearly 180 countries with low‐cost, high‐speed, low latency Internet and mobile connectivity. O3b Networks’ investors are SES, Google, Liberty Global, HSBC Principal Investments, Northbridge Venture Partners, Allen & Company, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Sofina, Satya Capital and Luxempart.
O3b Networks is headquartered in St. John, Jersey, Channel Islands.
The name "O3b" stands for "[The] Other 3 Billion", referring to the population of the world where broadband Internet is not available without help.