Delays lead to only 20 percent of 161 cell sites by November: SPM Rodgers


THE Huawei/China Harbour Engineering Company Limited is expected to construct around 20 percent of the 161 towers on Guadalcanal before the Pacific Games by November.

This is reportedly at a rate of one tower per week.

Initially, the government had planned to see about 48 percent of the 161 towers installed by November.

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers confirmed this to media last Friday.

He said, “The main reason for the delay is the inability of Solomon Telekom to make a decision on our request to partner with government in the delivery and operations of the towers.

“The technical/finance teams waited for a good part of 2022 to engage with Telekom management and engineers to visit and confirm sites.

“Compounding the delay is also the fact that Ministry of Communication and Aviation is unable to secure funds early in 2022/2023 to dispatch the technical survey teams because it takes time to secure funds.”

Furthermore, in 2023, Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination planning process for Development Budget takes time before the Ministry of Finance and Treasury can clear payments.

“Our teams only got the funds early March 2023 and are now in the site.

“The way we are going and with a rate of one tower per week it is possible to aim around 20 percent,” he said.

The 161 towers are part of the Solomon Islands National Broadband Infrastructure Project or SINBIP.

The SINBIP is one of the priority projects of the National Government. 

The SINBIP is consistent not only with the DCGA Policy Statement, but is also in line with the Solomon Islands National Infrastructure Investment Plan (2013), National ICT Policy (2015), and Solomon Islands National Development Strategy, 2016-2035 (2016).

In terms of funding, the statement confirms that the SINBIP will be fully funded with a 20 years’ term concessional loan of approximately CNY448.9 million from the Exim Bank of China at one percent interest rate.

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