(Pago Pago, American Samoa) Tuesday July 7, 2009 – In a celebration today at the Lee Auditorium in Pago Pago, the U.S. Territory of American Samoa celebrated a new fiber-optic connection to Hawaii and the rest of the world. American Samoa was the last U.S. territory with an indigenous population to obtain fiber-optic connectivity.
Office of Insular Affairs Field Representative Lydia Faleafine-Nomura and her staff, together with over 300 individuals from the public and private sectors, attended the Inaugural Launching ceremony celebrating the American Samoa Hawaii Cable.
Blue Sky Communications Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of the American Samoa Hawaii Cable, LLC, Adolfo Montenegro thanked Governor Togiola Tulafono and many others including the Department of the Interior for their support of the project. Plaques were presented to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula in recognition of Interior's support.
Montenegro further stated the importance that technology, infrastructure, and information would play in the transformation of the American Samoa economy. During his closing remarks, Mr. Montenegro showed a live picture of New York's Times Square which displayed the "eLandia and American Samoa Inaugural Launch".
Special mention was made by Governor Togiola of Interior's former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs David Cohen and the $6 million of capital improvement project funds invested in the laying of the infrastructure for the project. During the Governor's remarks, video-teleconferences were held with Tripler Army Medical Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and military personnel from American Samoa serving in Kuwait. Special remarks were given by Chairman and CEO of eLandia Pete Pizarro. Pizarro highlighted the bandwidth capacities in several countries and developing Pacific Islands and discussed the opportunities of the emerging markets in the Pacific Islands for using fiber-optic cable.
"The cable will spur the development of high-technology industries in American Samoa at a time when tuna canneries — currently the economy's mainstay — are closing or shrinking," Governor Togiola Tulafono said. "Today American Samoa celebrates one of the most significant economic development projects in its recent history," he added further. The cost of the project is estimated at $24 million, according to an eLandia filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.