Landmark Guam Undersea Access for Homes Act signed into Law
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Acting Gov. Josh Tenorio today signed into law a bill that will "modernize" Guam's policy for licensing submerged lands under the jurisdiction of the CHamoru Land Trust (CLTC) for the purpose of landing telecommunications cables on Guam.
"The establishment of standardized lease terms for all commercial submerged lands leases for the construction, installation and operation of fiber optic cable telecommunications systems creates a level playing field for any company interested in making use of Guam’s critical location when connecting the United States and Asia," Tenorio stated in a letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje.
Bill 277-36, titled "Guam Undersea Access for Homes Act" or GUAHA, is now Public Law No. 36-108.
Tenorio said the landing and licensing fees will establish a long-term funding source for the Chamorro Land Trust Survey and Infrastructure Fund, "which will directly benefit our citizens by aiding in the construction of additional infrastructure to CLTC leaseholders."
Terlaje, the bill's author, said GUAHA "is a culmination of a year and a half of research.
The final amended measure came before the legislature with urgency to provide resources for the CLTC to negotiate new and expiring leases.
While previous leases for submerged lands licenses were undervalued as low as $5000 per year, GUAHA brings the baseline for new or renegotiated leases up to $100,000 per year per cable with an escalation of 2 percent per annum.
“Providing resources for surveys is a critical need to get families into homes on CLTC properties. The advantages of this bill are far-reaching, and this measure is a stepping stone to lift our entire community up," Terlaje said.
"Our residents continue to struggle with affordable housing options for their families and with record inflation, gas prices, and utility costs, it is my hope that we continue to enact policies that encourage fair and responsible development on Guam that directly impacts the lives of our families in a positive way,"
International consortiums join forces to provide connectivity across the globe that include companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google ,which fund these multimillion-dollar telecommunications projects.
The new law positions Guam appropriately in the global market to land cables for these companies without cost to Guam’s taxpayers, and ensures environmental safeguards are in place to protect precious land resources.
The Guam Undersea Access for Homes Act was cosponsored by Senators Telo Taitague, Sabina Perez, Telena Cruz Nelson, Christopher Duenas, and Joanne Brown.