Call for help with tower in Bellona

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BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

People on Bellona are concerned with the Our Telekom network on the island and are calling on the company and provincial leaders to fix it.

Reports from the island say the Breeze network functions on an erratic basis and has become an inconvenient service.

A Mr Tims Polo, speaking to the paper from the island, says, “Telekom network went off one week after company engineers came and fixed the tower last month. But, as of last week, we notice the Breeze network resuming at the afternoons of some days, only to go off in the evening when the sun sets.

“We notice that it seems only when it is a sunny day before network can resume. However, with the rainy weather on Bellona, this narrows it down to just few days.”

Premier of Rennell and Bellona province, Willie Tuhagega, when contacted earlier this week, said his office is not aware of the network problem on Bellona but shares the concern that the problem needs to be fixed.

“I have not received any correct information on the matter.”

He said a Telekom engineer has however informed him that someone was “working on it” and that a list of materials required to fix the tower had been sent to Our Telekom.

He adds that people in the TNT community in Rennell have reported having made contact with people on Bellona via mobile phone. Thus, the assumption that there is no network problem.

“We need to check. Issues like this must be reported to the PS or DPS or myself, but the right person is the manager at Tigoa office.

“[Province] can intervene if it is slow to fix.”

Our Telekom has not responded to enquiries sent earlier this week.

Communication via mobile phone has become an integral part of people’s life on Bellona as well as the services there.

Polo said, “We have not communicated with our relatives in Honiara and Rennell. Just last week, when the Breeze network unexpectedly resumed, we were shocked to learn that three of our relatives had passed away in Honiara. We had learned of only one, which was via radio.

“Apart from that, services such as airlines and medical need to communicate regularly, and such network disruptions affect their operations here too.”

Early this year, during the cyclonic weather, lightning struck the tower causing total network shutdown. Last month, Telekom engineers fixed the tower, restoring network coverage.

However, a week later, network went down again. More than three weeks later, it returned but only at the afternoons of a sunny day.