The company has also admitted it was not as effective as it should have been in handling and resolving the issues “consistently and in a timely manner”.
These admissions come 11 days after a letter from the island’s nurse, Stella Neale, was published in CINews.
Neale said the internet service on Palmerston had been intermittent since October last year, as a result of a part needed to repair the island’s satellite dish not being delivered.
“The office here has been continually told the part is on order,” said Neale. “From where? Mars?
“Four boats have come and gone – the most recent was the police boat Kukupa, and they missed it, even when given ample notice by the agent here what time it was scheduled to leave Rarotonga.”
Neale said she was unable to log into the Ministry of Health website to receive and send emails and information on patients needing to be transferred to Rarotonga and all communication had to be by texts or phone calls – additional costs to her small budget.
Also affected were students doing USP courses who were unable to access online tutorials or send assignments, school tutors, and wifi users who had been unable to fully use their data before it expired, an exasperated Neale said.
In a letter to CINews, a Bluesky spokesperson said the company had been working to address the issues on Palmerston since last October but also accepted that the steps taken hadn’t been effective or sufficient until last month.
“Regarding some points (Neale) raised, we respectfully offer the following clarifications,” the spokesperson said.
“We had a technician on the island during the last week of September last year to upgrade some of the equipment and solar power system.
“Services were working fine after that until October 20 when the internet service went down after a few days of heavy rain on the island. As suspected, water had leaked into the antenna feed and was causing issues with our receivers.
“However, after drying it out and applying more sealant, internet service was again restored. Our office had not received any more internet faults from Palmerston until February 10. After some troubleshooting, our technician narrowed the cause of the issue down to a blown-out power amplifier. He did not have a spare, so it was decided to send one over on the next available boat.
“On February 27 our office was advised that the Kukupa was leaving for Palmerston on March 1. Our goal at that time was to transport a spare power amplifier from Aitutaki to Rarotonga in time for the shipment.
“We learned later that the Kukupa had changed course and was headed to Aitutaki to pursue an illegal fishing boat.
“This put a further delay on our plan and by the time the part arrived to Rarotonga it missed the deferred Kukupa journey to Palmerston on March 5. However, we were fortunate to get the part on Tapi Taio’s boat which arrived to Palmerston on March 10. All internet services were fully restored on Friday March 16.”
The spokesperson said Bluesky regretted “this unhappy episode” and took full accountability for letting its Palmerston customers down.
“In the meantime, we are very grateful for Stella’s comments and are determined to seek a remedy for her troubles.
“Her letter has provided us with invaluable feedback that will assist us in ensuring our services be improved.
“We also hope we can pick things up from here and meet the needs of our Pa Enua customers effectively.”
The spokesperson said they would like to hear from any Bluesky customer who was unhappy with any aspect of the services they provided, so they could quickly put things right.