Government Takes Ownership of the Samoa Subsea Cable
By Winston Qui, Talamua Online
January 20, 2022
The Government has decided to take back ownership of the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) as confirmed by the Minister for Communications, Information & Technology (MCIT) Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo.
The Submarine Cable is currently under six shareholding entities which include four Government Corporations, the Samoa Life Assurance Corporation (SLAC), Samoa National Provident Fund (SNPF), Unit Trust of Samoa (UTOS), Computer Services Limited (CSL) and the service providers Digicel Samoa and Vodafone Samoa.
The Submarine Cable was a $30 million investment established in April 2015 and the Government entities own 50% shares with the others holding 50%.
According to the Minister, of the $30 million investment, $8 million was paid in shares and $23 million paid through grants.
The project was set up to deliver fast, reliable and affordable costs for internet service to the market and consumers, however, Toelupe said that is not the case.
“The cost is not going down, but continues to increase,” Toelupe told Talamua.
SSCC was one of the projects initiated by Government, funded by Government and then handed over to the Public & Private Partners (PPP) sector.
Toelupe believes the Submarine Cable can be one of the avenues to generate Government revenues and maintaining good public service.
The Minister also believes revenues from the Submarine Cable can assist in offsetting some outstanding deals such as the one with the Samoa Digital Communication Limited (SDCL) which is a private enterprise.
He also confirmed that Government will claim its shares from Digicel Samoa before the Australian Telstra company takes over.
“Once Vodafone settles their deal too, then Government will have full management of the Submarine Cable,” he said.
With internet connectivity now the most popular communication model worldwide, the Government is aware of the cables potential financially.
SSCC manages and operates the Tui Samoa Cable which runs between Apia and Suva, Fiji with the main trunk to service Wallis & Futuna and Vanualevu in Fiji group.
The Manatua Cable which is also known as the One Polynesia Cable runs from Moata’a, Samoa with connecting fibre to Niue, Cook Islands, and Bora Bora, Tahiti.