World Bank had approved a grant to build submarine fiber optic cable to connect Samoa. People in Samoa will soon be connected to cheaper and higher-capacity internet access. World Bank officials told a grant of 16 Million US dollars will be provided to build the fiber optic cable connectivity to the island.
The project is expected to bring economic and social benefits to Samoa with significantly more reliable and affordable internet connectivity. The improved connectivity will support the country’s businesses and tourism sectors and enable improved access to information on health, education, and job opportunities. It will also help houses stay connected with the more than 100,000 Samoans who live overseas. In addition, the project will provide technical assistance to the Office of the Telecom Regulator in Samoa.
The project will be carried out as a private-public partnership, with financing from the Asian Development Bank, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the newly established Samoa Submarine Cable Company.
The Project forms part of the World Bank’s Pacific Regional Connectivity Program, a series of projects done in partnership with other development agencies to help Pacific Island countries achieve more affordable information and communication technologies and reduce their isolation.
Samoa will be connected through a 1,300-kilometer long cable that will link the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji. Fiji is a well-established submarine cable hub with connections to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, the United States (Hawaii), and Vanuatu. The cable will also provide opportunities for neighboring countries to connect. Work on the cable is scheduled to start in 2016.
Telecommunication in Samoa depends on Satellite and older American Samoa-Hawaii Cable System. The growing demand for high speed connectivity means that much higher-capacity and lower-cost solutions are now needed.
The total cost of the project is US$49.94 million ($126.28 million Samoan Tala), and will be financed by the US$16 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries; US$18.5 million from the Asian Development Bank; US$8.18 million from the Samoa Submarine Cable Company; US$5.76 from the Government of Samoa and US$1.5 million from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Samoa’s cable follows on from an 827-kilometer fiber optic cable between Tonga and Fiji which was completed in August 2013, in addition to a cable system connecting Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia to Guam, for which construction is scheduled to start in 2016.