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$2.9 Million awarded to ASCC to expand high-speed internet access

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce press release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The U.S. Dept. of Commerce is announcing that the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) was awarded $2,994,869 from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). The program is run by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.

According to the release, ASCC’s “Aʻoaʻoga Aso Nei” project aims to make remote learning a way of life in American Samoa, to transform the local economy, and to preserve the Samoan culture.

The project activities include:

•           upgrading the campus Internet connection to a Gigabit-speed connection;

•           creating an equipment lending program;

•           developing a modern curriculum that will deliver both a plan for the coming decade as well as a working pilot program thatintends to add Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and/or computer science classes for both postsecondary and adult learners; and

•           providing training to existing ASCC Information Technology Staff to better support and improve educational service delivery in the context of a significantly altered technical environment.   

Congresswoman Aumua Amata thanked the NTIA and Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson for recognizing the integral role of ASCC with this grant.

“ASCC is of utmost importance to our youth as they continue their educations and seek out opportunities in life,” the Congresswoman said, “especially in American Samoa where our young people have fewer higher education alternatives than any state in the U.S. Congratulations to ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato.”

Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga said, “I am very pleased to see that the National Telecommunications and Information Agency has selected our own American Samoa Community College for a substantial grant from its Connecting Minority Communities program. ASCC is our primary institution of higher learning in American Samoa and plays a critical role educating our students, preparing our workforce, and charting our future as a territory. I am confident that the NTIA has chosen an excellent partner with this grant. 

The Samoan phrase A’oa’oga Aso Nei translates to “education of today,” which is emblematic of the many technological and educational improvements this program will make for the college, the governor explained in the release.

“ As I have emphasized throughout my administration, it is essential that we leverage modern technologies to pivot and stabilize our economy, protect our population base, and to continue to guard and strengthen our unique Samoan culture. Through the deployment of additional computers, higher internet bandwidth, and new computing classes, and new information technology skills at the college, the A’oa’oga Aso Nei Initiative will be a great addition to our continuing efforts.”