ASTCA's $30 million loan from the ASGERF came up during hearing
Repayments for the $30 million loan from the Retirement Fund for the Hawaiki Cable project by the American Samoa TeleCommunincations Authority will start in October 2025.
As stipulated under the law, granting the loan with the retirement fund, according to ASTCA Chief Executive Officer Chuck Leota during the budget hearing for ASTCA today.
In 2018, the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund approved the investment of $30 million for the Hawaiki Cable project, and today Rep. Larry Sanitoa wanted answers on when the payments will start for the 30 million of government funds invested in the Hawaiki Cable.
In response, CEO Leota explained that pursuant to law, ASTCA will start paying the loan to ASG in October next year. In other aspects of the hearing, regarding the 200 gigabytes, Leota said the ASTCA wholesale manages all income from the sale of the gigabytes. ASTCA is making quarterly payments under a 30 gig capacity the Hawaiki retail leases from its wholesale.
Regarding the sale of the Hawaiki capacity, Leota said ASTCA is working to secure the sale of capacity in other Pacific islands of the Pacific, adding that many proposals have already been sent out to entice neighboring islands to purchase similar capacity.
He also mentioned the MOU signed with the Govt of Samoa for a cable to connect the two Samoa.
The hope is to sell more capacity to other islands in the Pacific, including Samoa.
Representative Sanitoa intervened and said that it's been eight years since ASTCA established the Hawaiki Cable, and the concern is it will take a lot of work to sell capacity.
Sanitoa further queried where ASCTA get the funds for the new cable, Leota responded that they hope to secure monies from a grant called middle mile to fund the project; however, the application was unsuccessful as it was a competitive grant.
Leota said although ASTCA was unable to secure the grant, ASTCA is considering other grants at the moment. The same grants other Territories of the Pacific are tapping into for assistance.