Chuuk Fiber Optic Cable Inauguration Ceremony

WENO, Chuuk—On May 7th 2019, His Excellency Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), attended the inauguration ceremony of the new fiber optic cable in Chuuk State, which is fully active and operational. The fiber optic cable, which dramatically increases Chuuk’s internet capacity by orders of magnitude, will support the Nation’s most populous state in its economic and social development.

The fiber optic cable in Chuuk is the latest infrastructure success from the FSM National Government, FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMT Cable Corp), and FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC), with crucial technical and material assistance from Nippon Electric Company (NEC), and financial assistance through the World Bank.

The President emphasized that all stakeholders must cooperate in order for the citizens of the Nation who reside in Chuuk to benefit from the fiber optic cable. “I want to remind [FSMTC and FSMT Cable Corp] that…you are not entities against each other,” the President said. “You serve the same community, the same citizens, the same customers. Look at the empty seats in this room—it probably resembles how much capacity we are not using with this new cable. What do we do with that? That is the challenge I leave with you.”

President Christian also noted his appreciation for all parties who made the fiber optic cable a success, with particular thanks given to NEC; the President recommended NEC become one of the bidders for any future developments for the East Micronesia Cable System, which will connect the State of Kosrae.

Former Vice President of the FSM and Chairman of the Board for FSMT Cable Corp, the Honorable Redley Killion, claimed the fiber optic cable in Chuuk “could be considered as one of the largest, if not the largest infrastructure project, not only for the State of Chuuk but for our Nation as a whole.”

The Honorable Johnson Elimo, Governor of Chuuk State, echoed Chairman Killion’s remarks, noting that the fiber optic cable “marks an important chapter in the history of the people of Chuuk.”

The Chief Executive Officer of FSMTC, Mr. Fredy Perman, noted that customers in Chuuk had already been given increased bandwidth.

Some citizens may appreciate learning the distinction between FSMT Cable Corp, FSMTC, and the FSM Telecommunications Regulation Authority (TRA). FSMT Cable Corp is the submarine cable company connecting Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae to promote broadband adoption in the FSM; they are a wholesaler and not-for-profit. FSMT Cable Corp’s customers are the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), of which at the moment the only ISP available is FSMTC. However, per the Telecom Act of 2014, the FSM intends to liberalize its marketplace i.e. allow multiple ISPs to exist and compete with each other, with the goal being cheaper and better internet, television, and phone service for all citizens in the FSM. The purpose of the TRA, then, is to regulate those ISPs.