Scepticism about fibre cable cost savings

Thursday January 09, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Mata Puia is sceptical about lower internet prices from the Manatua cable. 19112404/ 19112405 Mata Puia is sceptical about lower internet prices from the Manatua cable. 19112404/ 19112405

A local IT consultant is looking forward to a faster and efficient internet when the Manatua cable goes live in the coming months.

But Mata Puia, the owner of the Raro IT Solutions, is sceptical about improved pricing despite assurances from internet providers of lower rates.

Puia said one of the downfalls for her newly-formed business in the Cook Islands was having only one telecommunication provider Bluesky.

Due to the lack of competition she said businesses like hers were basically at the mercy of paying expensive internet data packages and tolerating slow internet speeds.

Since returning home in October last year, Puia said her business had experienced a few challenges such as slow internet speeds and connectivity issues

“Having the new fibre optic cable installed should definitely improve the internet speed and performance here in Rarotonga. It will surely help my business when liaising and communicating with freelancers overseas such as developers and project managers,” Puia said.

“But at what cost will Bluesky charge? I believe it will cost more. The problem is there is only one provider in the Cook Islands and they can charge whatever they want.”

Cable operator Avaroa Cable Limited had stated it would provide more competitive wholesale data pricing, supplied through the Manatua fibre link from Samoa and Tahiti.

In turn, lone internet retailer Bluesky Cook Islands said if the access cost of internet from the cable provider is lower than the current satellite rate, their customers will get data at a cheaper rate.

Mark Brown, the minister responsible for telecommunication, said they expect new competitors to enter the market following the passing of the new Telecommunications Act and Competition Act.

“I think if you look at any country or the region that has had cable come into it, the immediate impact it has had has been lower prices to the consumer for internet access for data and others,” Brown said.

“All of that is something that we are all looking forward to, both the government and the consumers, and I know that our current service provider Bluesky is working on that as well.”

Mata Puia is only hoping the new fibre optic cable would allow the opportunity for another new internet service provider to enter the market. 

“Having another competitor in the market should definitely help lower phone and internet costs,” she said.

  • Rashneel Kumar

1 comment

  • Comment Link Papa Manavaikai Monday, 13 January 2020 22:50 posted by Papa Manavaikai

    Kia Orana,

    Mata has a valid view point, with only one provider of internet services what assurance do we as consumers have that costs would be more affordable - 'none'. Unless there is compelling reason for Bluesky to drop their charges to consumers, I can not see them changing on their own accord. Let us look at global trends, looking at local and recent history NZ. Telecom NZ didn't change their cost for sometime, well after 'competitors' where introduced into NZ. And this was only done by way of a governing body stepping in, and provided an 'equal' playing field for all providers. With the goal of ; consumers provided value for their 'buck', and providing an opportunity for companies to bid competitively for business. So, you see unless Bluesky has a heart for our people, conscious for our people, care about our small business folk - then great I can see them changing their costs. But let us not depend on a business built to make money at any cost, to all of a sudden care for our people. Why would a company that is owned by overseas people, want to invest millions of dollars into Cook Island. With the intention of not recovering their cost, or forfeit making a profit. I still have not yet come across such a business so far, please do not get sensitive about our people working for Bluesky Raro. It is no their fault in price determination, if anything they are also subject to the same conditions - they too are consumers. What we should be doing is supporting our local / small business of Cook Islanders, trying to survive in a very highly charge and competitive economics world. Having limitations such as internet; speeds, connectivity, overheads is not supportive at all for all consumers. Nor should location, cost to the cable be a reason to 'hike' the prices. I wish my island the best for our future, and hope that our people's awareness increases. "Bluesky, if you're reading this. I hope you do the right thing".

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