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Am Samoa and Samoa sign MOU initiating broadband cooperation

Signing MOU,Falelimu Chuck Leota,Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The work of the Atoa o Samoa is bearing fruit already. This past week, the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) and Samoa’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the territory.

The signing ceremony was attended was attended by MCIT Minister Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo.

“Successful outcomes continue under the newly revitalized Atoa o Samoa talks under the Lemanu & Talauega Administration and the new Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Government of Samoa,” a statement issued yesterday by the Samoa Gov’t said.

 After months of collaboration and many work sessions ASTCA Chief Executive Falelimu Chuck Leota and Samoa’s MCIT Minister Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo have attained the support of their respective governments and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASTCA and MCIT supporting initiatives that ensure our engineering and broadband challenges meet the needs of our people competing in the new global digital economy, the Samoa gov’t release said.

 “The programs of the MOU are to foster and assure optimum mutual development in a framework for joint efforts in broadband infrastructure, telecommunications, local engineering capacity, and network resilience.

 “The tangible benefits and spirit of the MOU will be in the economic, social, and digital equity areas of American Samoa and Samoa for staying connected and relevant in the new digital economy.”

According to the statement, the MOU development area of focus is deployment of a Submarine Cable. For American Samoa, the cable between the American Samoa island of Tutuila and Samoa would secure the necessary redundancy of the main submarine cable connecting American Samoa to the US mainland.

 For Samoa, the cable would bring increased, higher-quality capacity to the country and substantially decrease costs of service for the Independent State, improving digital equity for its citizens.

In addition advances also include a Microwave Backhaul Solution between Tutuila and Upolu for additional emergency telecom and broadband redundancy, capacity sharing and training in knowledge, resources, and emergency inventories.

ASTCA CEO said these are exciting time.

 “The Lemanu & Talauega Administration have made their goals clear — digital equity should be a reality for all American Samoans, without exception.

“Every resident of American Samoa must have affordable and high-speed access to online information, from education to healthcare, and the tools necessary to fully participate in modern democracy and the new digital economy without having to leave American Samoa.

 “The administration also wants to make sure that ASTCA helps our aiga in Samoa with our excess broadband capacity from the Hawaiki cable, thereby assisting the new FAST government in their efforts to close Samoa’s digital divide and thereby assist their leaders in delivering digital equity to their citizens,” Falelimu said.

Minister Toelupe said Samoa and American Samoa should be well connected by the latest telecommunication means and leverage our geographic proximity to our shared advantage.

“Working together, we can better accelerate access and the adoption rate of tools and resources needed for our people to participate in the new digital global economy and build resiliency for climate change and natural disasters.

 “In areas of governance and policy, the Honorable Minister also stated, “Building human resources capacity for a well-educated digital society for all to succeed must be achieved.

 “In working together, our people can benefit from each other’s strengths and achieve a timelier digital transformation by addressing many of our social-economic concerns for society, business, and government,” said Toelupe.

In closing, the ASTCA CEO said that from a policy perspective and in practical application, ASTCA and MCIT want the same thing — to raise the standard of living and quality of life for our people by ensuring that they not just participate, but thrive in the new global digital economy.

“With the Honorable Ministers’ support, I am confident ASTCA and MCIT can lead and deliver solutions for our people to succeed.”