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The American Samoa Digital Equity Plan has been Approved!

The Department of Commerce’s Broadband Coordination Office is excited to announce that the territory’s first-ever American Samoa BROADBANDiNEI Digital Equity Plan (AS DEq plan) has been officially approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The Digital Equity Plan aims to address the digital divide in American Samoa by ensuring that all residents have access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet, digital devices, and the necessary digital skills and literacy to participate fully in the global market.
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In the next few months two Digital Equity programs will be opening, the American Samoa Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, and the national Digital Equity Competitive program.  These programs focus on empowering those most impacted by the digital divide.

 

American Samoa Digital Capacity Program: This program will be administered by the Dept. of Commerce BCORD Office. $2.1 million has been allocated to the territory to carry out digital inclusion projects and to implement the AS DEq Plan. Local organizations who regularly engage with the covered populations, and are intimately familiar with their barriers to digital access will have an opportunity to apply for funding to carry out projects. Grant projects will be categorized and subcategorized based on the goals set in the American Samoa DEq Plan. 

 

Digital Equity Competitive Grant: This program will be administered directly by NTIA. NTIA will soon announce the launch of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program. (see attached DE Competitive Grant at a glance)

The BCORD Office was established by Governor Lemanu P.S.  Mauga via Executive Order # 007-2023 on April 3, 2023.  The key mandates of the office are to:

  • Apply for, manage, and coordinate the use of broadband funding available to American Samoa.

  • Develop strategies to facilitate buildout and implementation of broadband infrastructure necessary to achieve universal broadband access for American Samoa.

  • Develop and advocate for policies that make high quality broadband service more accessible, affordable, and reliable in American Samoa

BCORD Programs & Initiatves
"BROADBANDiNEI"

The BCORD Office is home to several programs and initiatives:

Communication Tower

ARPA - BroadbandiNEI

In 2022, the BCORD office received funding under ARPA for the initial BROADBANDiNEI initiative - which focuses on building broadband capacity in the Territory facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and building capacity for future potential pandemics.  The $10m in funding was sub-granted to eligible entities for the improvement of broadband infrastructure, including 5G Cellular networks and domestic submarine fiber-optic cable repairs. 

Modern Interior Design

Tech Park (Capital Funds Project)

A $14.3m multi-purpose community facility to improve resources for communities that enable work, education and health monitoring. Funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury - Capital Funds Project

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Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD)

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) - the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) set up a $42.45b fund to expand high-speed internet access.  American Samoa has thus far received $1.2m in planning funds with the announcement of an allocation of $37.56m.  The BCORD office and its partners have also released the BroadbandiNEI - BEAD 5 Year Action Plan.

Blue Cord

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program is administered by the USAC with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - to provide eligible participants a discount on their monthly internet services. 

Digital Nomad

Digital Equity

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) - the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) set up a $2.75b fund to establish three grant programs to support digital equity.  American Samoa has thus far received $150k in planning funds, with the formula grant and competitive grants to still be determined.

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American Samoa Territorial Broadband Strategy

A "living" strategic plan to help the territory create digital inclusion plans to reduce the digital divide and prioritize digital equity for its residents (2021-2026)

Broadband Resources

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Digital Nomad

Other Resources:

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