Samoa government to buy out cable firm





By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Apia-- Samoa’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has confirmed it is moving to buy all shares of the Samoa Submarine Cable Co. owned by two internet service providers.


Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo, communications minister, told the Samoa Observer that the Cabinet has given a directive to begin the process of managing the submarine cable.


He said discussions had started with the two companies and the value of the shares have more than tripled.


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Onesemo said shares were sold to Bluesky, since taken over by Vodafone, for around $20 million tālā but the value of the shares is now $100 million tālā.


Samoa's cable company is a public-private partnership among the government-owned Samoa National Provident Fund, Samoa Life Assurance Corp., Unit Trust of Samoa, Computer Services Ltd., Vodafone Samoa and Digicel Samoa.


The minister said the previous administration sold the fiber cable, which was a valuable asset, but kept the Samoa National Broadband Highway, or SNBH.


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The SNBH, which is managed by the Computer Service Ltd., links Samoa’s schools and hospitals to the fiber-optic cable network.


“The real issue in schools is the entry [port] for the SNBH cables is dusty because there is no internet connection, yet the government is paying Computer Services Ltd. $600,000 for management and $91,000 monthly for co-locations,” Toelupe said.


He confirmed he recently refused to sign off on payment for the SNBH because some of the co-location sites were not working, and yet payments continued to be made.


According to the minister, if the fiber cable was used properly, there would be no issues with schools’ connectivity. (Talanei)



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