Amata Welcomes Federal Broadband Support of $14.5 Million Over 10 Years
Washington, D.C.—Monday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomes the announcement of nearly in $14.5 million available in federal broadband support for American Samoa over ten years through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable broadband to help close the digital divide. American Samoa is the only Territory included in these grant authorizations along with rural and remote areas in 39 of the States, and various U.S. Tribal lands.
“We always welcome improvements for these technologies and communications infrastructure in American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “These services are increasingly important to our small businesses throughout the islands, and constantly growing as a part of daily life for more and more people. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai before and I appreciated his genuine interest in the services in American Samoa, so thank you to him and his team at the FCC for considering the needs of our people.”
In return for this federal support, which could total $14,469,062 in American Samoa, carriers must maintain, improve, and expand broadband throughout their service areas during this time, according to a federal schedule, including a progress marker in 2022.
Congresswoman Amata and ASTCA CEO Lewis Wolman
The FCC support is targeted to smaller carriers, part of the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model, which works to provide predictability, reward efficiency, and provide more value for each taxpayer dollar. These sparsely populated areas require support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to facilitate network improvements and keep rates reasonable.
“I want to say thank you ahead of time to the team at ASTCA and CEO Lewis Wolman for their ongoing work to strengthen these capabilities,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Chairman Pai is an advocate for what he terms the ‘democratization of entrepreneurship’ meaning that once a person has high quality broadband to go with a good idea and business plan they can begin to compete effectively anywhere.”
Chairman Ajit Pai was initially appointed a Commissioner by President Barack Obama upon the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell, then appointed Chairman by President Donald Trump. The FCC is an independent agency, and FCC funding is approved by Congress each year through appropriations legislation.
“Our action today will help close the digital divide and is a win-win for rural Americans and taxpayers,” stated Chairman Pai in the FCC announcement. “Carriers get the predictable support they need to deliver broadband to their customers in these high-cost rural areas.”