Temporary fix for mobile service

Sunday October 29, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Workers from Bluesky, Te Aponga Uira and T&M Heather were busy installing new broadband equipment at the burned-out cell site on Saturday. 17102908 Workers from Bluesky, Te Aponga Uira and T&M Heather were busy installing new broadband equipment at the burned-out cell site on Saturday. 17102908

Hundreds of homes and many businesses around Rarotonga were without landline, mobile phone and internet services on Saturday morning as Bluesky Cook Islands mobilised teams of workers to restore services using a mix of solutions.

 

In a media statement issued at 1am on Sunday, Bluesky country manager Phillip Henderson said progress had been made on restoring services, and mobile to mobile calling and SMS had been restored. On Sunday afternoon, another media statement said mobile-to-mobile calling and SMS were available both Rarotonga and Aiutaki using a connection to the Samoa Mobile network via O3B.

“As this remains a work-around. All mobile calls and SMS under this restoration service will be free of charge for both post-paid and prepaid subscribers while we work to fully restore the service,” Henderson said.

“Calls to fixed lines and international numbers will not be available under this service. To use the mobile service, please ensure to dial +682 then the number.”

On Saturday at the Aroa cell site gutted by fire on Friday afternoon, workers from Bluesky, Te Aponga Uira and T&M Heather continued installation of new broadband equipment with the aim of restoring internet services to around 288 customers.

At 10.48am that day Henderson released a statement saying overnight progress had been made with Bluesky technology partners Huawei and O3B who were mobilising their emergency restoration teams.

He was expecting the first engineer from O3b to arrive on Sunday to assist with determining a restoration strategy and to see what replacement equipment will be required.

“Huawei engineers are working on securing replacement equipment and options to provide temporary restoration of voice services on the mobile network as soon as possible. We are working on a solution which may connect to the Samoa mobile network via O3b to provide temporary voice services.

Henderson said around 1600 fixed lines were being transferred from the destroyed site at Aroa to Avarua and 612 lines had been completed by 5.45pm on Saturday.

“Affected customers are located in Kauare, Tikoki, Avavaroa, Aroa, Akaoa, Avana and Blackrock.

“Customers will be experiencing a permanent engaged tone. As they are migrated to Avarua, the engaged tone will be removed and service restored.

“This will be occurring progressively throughout the weekend.”

Henderson said the migration was expected to be completed by midday on Monday and service to businesses was being restored as a priority.

“Separately, 288 internet broadband customers are out of service. These are in the areas of Betela meeting house to the Jehovah Witness church in Aroa.”

Early on Saturday evening Henderson said cable diversion, which involved installing a new internet broadband node at the Aroa cellsite, had been completed and the new node was being commissioned. The job also entailed cutting in and diverting the fibre cable and installing new copper distribution frames to “patch in” affected customers.

Henderson said Bluesky would continue to provide updates as the company progressed through the restoration.

“All other facilities remain operational. We sincerely apologise for the service interruptions and promise that we are doing our best to minimise the inconvenience.”

The cause of Friday’s devastating fire has not yet been determined. It is being investigated by both Bluesky and the Airport Authority’s Crash Fire Service.

            - Release/Cameron Scott

 

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