Telecom Niue respond to questions from MP Richard Hipa at the last Fono Ekepule

Telecom Niue has responded to questions raised at the last sitting of the Fono Ekepule last week by Common Roll member Richard Hipa.

Telecom spokesperson Roy Pavihi spoke to BCN news today saying that there was some misinformation heard from the Fono Ekepule last week and they wish to correct this specifically the reference to $1 million dollars from the COVID 19 funding. He told BCN news that Telecom Niue did not receive one million dollars but Telecom did receive $82,000 from the government’s COVID 19 funding.

Brett Collier CEO of Telecom Niue also said that there seems to be some misunderstanding that Telecom Niue is responsible for Manatua, but this is not the case. Manatua belongs to the Government of Niue and Telecom Niue is the Project Manager.

During the Fono Richard Hipa questioned on the delays in operational matters and why the 4G network hasn’t delivered the promised reliable service.

Roy Pavihi says that Telecom Niue is working to improve the network but Telecom would like to remind the public that 4G networks like all networks do have blind spots and they are trying to resolve these issues. CEO Collier said that 4G worked fine during Tropical Cyclone Zazu last week and was used effectively by government agencies to get their message to the public.

MP Hipa also probed on the State-owned enterprises procurement process which has seen Telecom Niue import several vehicles including heavy machineries recently. In response Telecom says that these vehicles are part of a $3 million dollars project funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). This is a two-part project includes a complete revamping of the government’s computer systems and upgrade. According to Roy Pavihi when completed Niue will be the first Pacific nation to have a fully secured all of government computer system.

CEO Brett Collier says that there are strict requirements for the use of company vehicles, one of which is that all vehicles used by the staff must be cleaned every Fridays.

The second part of the project is the second round of fibre cable roll out to the whole island which is to complement the Manatua when operational. According to Telecom Niue, this part of the project required the use of heavy machinery to dig the trenches and to roll out the cable. The project is set to begin rolling out the cable next month and is expected to be completed by October 2021.

Collier told BCN news that the procurement process of Telecom Niue is as instructed by the Board of Directors where they are given the guidelines from the Board. Roy Pavihi says that they comply with all the requirements of the donor MFAT when completing each phase of the project.

In response to the $39,000 fumigation costs for the ditch witch digger, Telecom Niue says that they were complying with Quarantine Niue’s requirements for high temperature treatments of this piece of machinery because it was from Australia. Telecom was told by New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries that they were not able to conduct this type of treatment at the time and that it is also not part of their current protocols as this is an old requirement. Telecom Niue was told to send the machinery to Fiji for this high temperature treatment which is why they incurred a bill of $39,000.

Telecom Niue is the government’s largest state-owned enterprise and the largest internet service provider.

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