TCI’s switch-over celebrated

Tuesday October 30, 2012 Written by Published in Technology

Telecom Cook Islands chief executive Jules Maher believes the company’s switch to a new switch marks a “hugely historical occasion” for the Cook Islands.

The new REDCOM HDX soft-switch system uses 50 percent less energy than its NEAX counterpart because it runs on less bandwidth and power, bringing more benefits to customers and telecommunication companies, he said.

The old NEAX softswitch system was decommissioned on Monday.

There are now two switches in Rarotonga, in Parekura and Aroa, to ensure that there is significant support if one is destroyed in a natural disaster.

Maher told telecommunications minister Mark Brown, as well as four Telecom directors and two REDCOM representatives on Monday, the switchover was a significant day for the Cook Islands.

“It’s a new generation of switch technology that really does put us in the lead group in the Pacific,” Maher said.

The chief executive said there had been “20 years of cobwebs to blow out” as the upgrade took place and as a result some customers experienced technical glitches.

“To make an omelette you have to crack some eggs. We’ll make it up to our customers in different ways. I’m hugely proud to be here and witness this event.”

Brown said he did not know much about the system but said “if you get better service delivery and reduced costs then you’re on to a winner.”

“I hope they continue to invest in the most important part of the company – the people,” noted Brown.

Of the four directors present, two were from Telecom New Zealand (TNZ), who is the major shareholder for its Cook Islands counterpart.

TNZ representative Mark Beder said the new system would provide the island with a far more “resilient” system.

The switchover to the HDX system was the second system shutdown for chief operating officer Ngatama Aniterea, after he was a part of the decommissioning of a manual switch in favour of the NEAX system in 1992.

REDCOM’s international sales and marketing director Charles DeRoller said the soft-switch’s technology was a positive step forward for the country and would ensure they would not follow the same fate as Nauru, who to date do not have a landline telephone system.

“Telecommunications is so much more than a company in a country.”

DeRoller, whose company helped turn TCI’s plans into a workable schedule, said that while other countries in the Pacific region set two to five years for the installation of the project, it took the Cook Islands just five months.

“These systems put Telecom Cook Islands on a path of long term growth and fiscal responsibility will increase over 20 years. The growth of this is something everyone will benefit from... kudos to you guys for pulling this off.”

The NEAX switches were turned off by Brown, Maher, Aniterea, two Redcom representatives, Beder and fellow TNZ representative Janet Selwood before Catholic priest Father Epiloka Pahia blessed the new HDX system.

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