What is the American Samoa Territorial Broadband Strategy?
American Samoa has struggled to reap the benefits that modern internet services have to offer. Like many remote locations, our internet has been slow, expensive, of poor quality, and outright frustrating. As a result, government agencies, businesses, and organizations have been slow to advance or develop their own processes and operations to leverage the awesome tech tools that exist in 2020.This all changed last year though. Two major milestone accomplishments have occurred. First, we completed the installation of a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) project that was funded by ARRA (American Recovery & reinvestment Act). This $90+ million-dollar investment, more commonly known as BLAST (Broadband Linking American Samoa Territory), ensures that all homes and businesses across American Samoa are connected to the local fiber optic network. This was completed in 2015, but it did us little good because our submarine fiber optic cable (the American Samoa-Hawaii or ASH Cable) only delivered 1Gbps of bandwidth. As of last year, the Hawa’iki submarine cable went live and blew the roof off by connecting American Samoa to the global community via the availability of 200+ GBps of bandwidth. This was made possible by a historic $30 million-dollar investment by ASG into our future.
That is basically the big question and the reason why we are developing the Territorial Broadband Strategy. If you are thinking this sounds like “cart before the horse”, you’re right. Typically, the strategy or plan comes first then the procurement and installations of the infrastructure components and so on, but this is where we are. Rather than fumble around in the dark trying to figure out what to do with all of the bandwidth, we must take a strategic approach towards utilizing and leveraging this awesome resource so as to improve quality of life in all of the areas where broadband can help – education, economy, healthcare, government – as well as address other concerns like cybersecurity and social impacts this technology is having on our community. Failing to plan is planning to fail and failure is not an option!
We welcome your input and look forward to finding out what we can do!