It is no secret that Samoa has some serious technological problems. It is not workable for most and there is little to no hope for it to get better anytime soon. However, the reality is that technology is the answer to destruction of poverty.
The good news is it can be fixed. The bad news is no one wants to do it. The government in Samoa doesn’t care (and has interest in the broken system). The technology is making millions off the current system so why fix it?
Before I start on the issues, allow me to say why I care. Samoans are great people but there is no opportunity for the people of Samoa as it is. The only way this will change is for the internet to become common and have a stable connection in every fale. In order for prosperity to flow in Samoa, it must embrace the global market.
The stats that I have currently show over 97% of Samoans live on less than than 106,130 Tala a year per household. ($2,211 a week) This is simply alarming. This is not just a problem in Samoa but across the Pacific. Basically, everywhere Hawaii and Australia has this problem of extremely high poverty levels.
The only help for them is technology.
Now for the problem we face.
- Oceanic pipeline
- Unstable connection
- Low speeds
- High Cost.
The oceanic pipeline is a mess.
One of the biggest issues is this very old oceanic pipeline running from Hawaii to American Samoa to Samoa. There is nothing good for about this pipeline.
It has history and alot of it. One of the biggest problems with it is this: its’age. This line was laid from Auckland to Hawaii in 1993 when I was in middle school.
16 years later, technology executives in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia all determined that it was “useless” and a bigger, faster and more secure one needed to be established. This happened in 2008.
Some “smart” politicians in Pago Pago came up with this less than bright idea to use this “useless” pipeline for American Samoa then to extend it to Samoa for $80,000 US Dollars a year.
It should have never been connected to start with and it must be fixed as soon as possible.
One of the major problems is the connection inside Samoa is unstable. Losing connection is common place. Internet connection must be seamless. Anything less is a failure of the provider.
It is common to lose the internet for days on end in Samoa. This is connected to the issues with the feed from the oceanic pipeline.
The following graph is based on mbps for end user in Apia, Manila, Hawaii and Suva. As you can see, Suva is not very good either but there is reason Fiji is lacking.
You simply can not compete when you have have 256k that was last the standard in 2001. This is just not acceptable.
The price of the internet is simply just out of the reach of the people. Remember, the average worker in Samoa are making on average $4 Tala.
Given that an hour on Facebook is roughly 20mb. If a family of 5 just spend an hour on Facebook each a day; that’s 2.92GB a month. That’s 641.72 Tala a month.
If both parents and one of the children work making an average of $6 Tala an hour, it takes 107 hours or 35 per working person.
As you can see, this just is not logic.