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ASTCA’s 50 years of service to the territory quietly celebrated by staff

ASTCA employees

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority staff celebrated 50 years of its service in the territory over the weekend.

The ceremony was held together with the Authority’s Christmas party at Tradewinds Hotel.

ASTCA Director Chuck Leota told Samoa News in an email their celebration was merely a Christmas Party for their staff. 

“As for ASTCA's 50-Year Golden Jubilee, ASTCA mentions it when the opportunity arises, with no formal events occurring or planned for it.”

ASTCA was established in 1998. To date ASCTA remains a semi-autonomous agency operating under an executive order.

In 2019 three senators sponsored legislation, that sought to create ASCTA by law.

The bill that was submitted in 2019 was to regulate all telecommunication services in American Samoa and also give the authority to carry out its own procurement services.

The 10-page legislation outlines powers of ASTCA, which may make contracts as authorized in this chapter. However, any contracts ASTCA enters into with the ASG Employees’ Retirement Fund must be brought to the Fono for approval.

The bill specifies the establishment of two ASTCA divisions: Inter-Exchange Carrier (IXC) providing among other things long distance interstate and international services including internet; and Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) which provides, among other things, local telephone service and other regulated telecom service that transmits and/or receives voice, data, and/or video.

The bill says ASTCA may also establish any other department it deems necessary to support its purpose.

ASTCA was to be governed by a 7-member board, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Fono for terms of 4 years.

ASTCA board members — all of whom are to be residents of American Samoa — shall be compensated $6,000 a year and $7,000 a year for the chairman, who shall be selected by the board, along with the vice chair.

The proposed bill spelled out the duties and responsibilities of the board, including hiring of the chief executive officer, who reports directly to the board, and also the responsibilities of the CEO, whose salary is to be set by the board.

The bill never made it out of the Senate.