Samoan Minister for Communication and Information Technology visits USP
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Honourable Afamasaga Lepuia'i Rico Tupai, Samoa’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) and Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP.
Samoa’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) Honourable Afamasaga Lepuia'i Rico Tupai paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 15 March 2018.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP extended a warm welcome as it was his first visit, adding that he was delighted to host him.
Professor Chandra congratulated the Hon. Minister for the ICT development in Samoa, in particular with the new submarine Cable Tui Samoa.
The Tui Samoa Cable spans more than 1,470 km, connecting Samoa to Fiji with a spur to Wallis & Futuna and Vanua Levu and Suva (FINTEL landing Station).
The Samoa Government established the Samoa Submarine Cable Company Limited (SSCC) to look after this new submarine cable.
Professor Chandra also commended the efforts of the Government of Samoa for the recovery process after Cyclone Gita.
“We are very interested in the cable that has landed there and are strongly committed to ensuring that the Alafua Campus has adequate connectivity to give it a strong platform for delivery,” he stated.
“We are strongly committed to working with the Government to help where we can provide any assistance and of course to get a partnership that will enable USP to have access to good pricing on the cable,” Professor Chandra said.
As for the Alafua Campus, Professor Chandra said USP needed to connect to a fibre in Samoa in order for the University to be connected to SSCC, however the only fibre available to USP is the BlueSky fibre.
Hon Tupai acknowledged the Vice-Chancellor and thanked him for receiving his delegation and for his kind remarks.
“We are excited the cable has landed and we are adamant that it brings a lot of potential not only to take Samoa to the next level in terms of communication but our focus is to ensure that education and health is a big part of connectivity at the moment,” he said.
“This week in Auckland there will be a meeting to determine the supplier to build the next cable which will be built from Tahiti, Cook Islands, Niue and possibly Tonga and the target is to land in Samoa by June 2019.
“That cable will bring a majority of the Polynesian islands to Samoa and there are also discussions right now with the Government of New Zealand to quickly connect Tokelau and Tuvalu to Samoa,” he said.
The Hon. Minister said Samoa is also currently working to host a Digital Transformation Facility to house any digital development.
The Hon. Minister also pointed out that they wanted to look at the possibility of tapping into Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) through USP, to which Professor Chandra confirmed that AARNet has no plans to acquire capacity on the new Samoa cable, but would welcome those who wish to connect to it, to do so at their own cost.
“Since AARNet has no plans to acquire capacity on Tui Samoa. It is critical for Samoa to provision their link to Fiji and acquire capacity for AARNet,” he said.
The Minister and his delegation also took a tour of the ICT buildings at Laucala Campus.
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