Regulator to decide on wifi claims

The Office of the Regulator will make a decision on allegations that a free wifi programme being rolled out in schools is "illegal" and determine whether it went through proper processes. This was confirmed by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i.

Implemented by the Netvo Samoa in partnership with Kacific Broadband Satellite company and the Fa'atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) political party, concerns have been raised about the project.  

But the Minister said the matter has been referred to the Office of the Regulator.

“That has been up to the Acting Regulator and Office to make a decision after all consultation and communication with the company involved,” he said.

Afamasaga could not confirm reports that the Regulator is looking into issuing an Order to cease the free wifi project. 

Several attempts to get a comment from Acting Regulator, Venus Iosefa, have been unsuccessful. 

Last week, some of the schools who have had satellites installed for the project were told their connection will soon be cut.

During a previous interview, Minister Afamasaga claimed the free wifi was illegal and did not followed proper processes. 

 At the launch, the owner of Netvo, Togisala Tony Leota, and M.P. La'auli Leuatea Schmidt denied any wrongdoing. 

The partnership reaffirmed they had gone through proper channels and had approached the Government prior to it rolling out the project. 

While Afamasaga praised the initiative’s aim of helping the children of Samoa, he strongly believes that the people in charge of the project "should follow the right processes."

"The Government is yet to receive an application from NetVo and F.A.S.T. with regard to the new project in schools,” he said. 

"We have never seen an application, a formal application as per the Regulator, regulations. 

"Also, the Ministry of Education is yet to receive any consultation with them in terms of what the content is. 

“As you may know, the content on Schoolnet as well as the SIM cards already loaded by Digicel and Vodafone and being used for free, those are aligned with the curriculum of Samoa. 

"In all respects, they need to consult the Ministry of Education as well. But the Ministry of Education was unaware until yesterday (Monday). 

"So that's why we are disappointed to see that they have announced that the government declined and denied their project but the Government is yet to see an application."


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