Note: Due to a software issue, posts were less frequent the last few weeks. This has been resolved. Please expect posts to return to their normal rate.
This week, news comes from American Samoa where legislators have approved funding for a nundersea fiber optic cable to carry internet traffic between American Samoa and Hawaii.
From a Radio New Zealand story:
The government’s investment in the Pac Rim East Cable, which will connect American Samoa to Hawaii using a cable now servicing New Zealand, is nine million US dollars.
Looking back at my last two posts, what is happening in American Samoa might be the only way to introduce real competition for internet service in Fiji.
The silence on how deregulation will proceed for broadband internet service in Fiji is not a good sign. The ‘functional separation’ that is required to pry the internet backbone out of FINTEL’s control should be at the core of any discussion on introducin competition.
Real progress may only come with laying a new fiber optic cable to compete as an international gateway with FINTEL and the Southern Cross Cable.
Ultimately, freeing Fiji from the shackles of slow internet speeds and poor service may only come with additional investments of the sort made this week by American Samoa.
So there is no confusion: Fiji already has infrastructure in place to handle all of its telecommunications needs. It’s the exclusive arrangement that FINTEL holds as ‘international gateway’ that is the real hindrance.
Moving forward, the new Telecommunications Authority of Fiji will have this is their first real test as a regulator.