Bluesky country manager Phillip Henderson said since the fire on Friday which completely destroyed the building that housed mobile exchange and O3b international connectivity, they have worked long hours to recover as much as they could.
In a press conference yesterday, Henderson confirmed 288 broadband and 360 telephone customers who were physically connected to Aroa station were out of service.
He said work on restoring the services should have been completed as of last night.
“Throughout the weekend, we were also able to restore mobile services but we got work on hand. It’s bit flaky at the moment, we have built a relationship with the Bluesky Group between ourselves, American Samoa and Samoa through which we have actually built identical mobile networks to help in the restoration of services,” Henderson said.
“We wanted to minimise business interruptions; that’s why I committed ourselves to work through the weekend to make sure come Monday, businesses were able to carry on doing what they need to do with minimal interruption.
“We would like to have Aroa facility rebuild and have those 288 and 360 customers reconnected. We are ahead of the plan, but always want to do better.”
The cause of the fire which started at around midday is yet to be determined and Henderson has ruled out arson.
An electrical fault is assumed to be the main cause but will only be confirmed after an investigation by the Rescue Fire Service and Bluesky.
Henderson said the complete restoration would take a minimum of three weeks.
He said Bluesky intended to restore as much of the service as they could as soon as possible, saying that was the reason for the work-around which is a normal approach in a situation like this.
“A permanent fix will take around three or more weeks. We have our options to rebuild at Aroa, a redesign and other things that we are looking at right now.”
Henderson said one of the major issues they were facing at the moment was there was no “handover” from cell-to-cell sites.
He said the network was not yet “optimised” and it normally took a week to do this.
“If you find that you are disconnected from the network, just go to phone mode and aircraft mode which disconnects and reconnects the phone.
“That’s just a work-around at the moment. The team is working quite long hours to get optimisation into the mobile network.
“It’s going to be up and down in the next few weeks. We are working with our vendor Huawei and with (satellite service provider) O3b who now have an engineer on site, to see how quickly we can restore the facilities in Aroa.”
Henderson thanked their Bluesky offices in Samoa and American Samoa and telecommunication companies in the Pacific for their concern and support.
He also thanked his staff who had taken up new roles and duties to support restoration of mobile services.