Regulator stops project, refuses license

The Office of the Regulator (O.O.T.R.) has stopped a free wifi project, which has already connected some schools in Savaii to the internet, refusing to grant the people behind the project a license.

The decision issued by Acting Regulator, Cecily Faasau – Iakopo, followed an Order from the Regulator to cease the roll out of the project manned by Netvo Samoa in partnership with the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) political party. 

In a letter to Bluwave Wireless Limited, also known as Netvo Samoa, dated 5 November 2020, the Acting Regulator advised the company about the outcome of their investigation. Mrs. Iakopo noted that Netvo was not in compliance and that “you needed to apply for spectrum in order for your project to operate”.  

“Despite public scrutiny and media releases which brought the O.O.TR’s name into disrepute, O.O.T.R. attempted to salvage your projects by allowing you to submit the relevant information necessary to assist with the regulatory process and decision,” the letter reads.

“Despite requests to submit all relevant information for regulatory process and to support your project you had continuously resisted to submit relevant information required.”

Upon projection of the documents submitted by Netvo in support of the project, the Regulator made several observations. She noted that there was no business licence submitted, there was no development consent application for the project and unaudited financial information was lodged. 

“Overall your company did not attain the pass mark for Licence,” the letter reads. “In light of the above, the Order of the Regulator No.2020/T04 stands (Ceasing the roll out of your Project) and grant of licence is refused.”

Contacted for a comment, NETVO Chief Operations Officer, Togisala Leota, asked the Samoa Observer to call him back. 

Followup phone calls placed to his phone were not answered.  

Meanwhile, in an Order from the Regulator dated 29 September 2020, Netvo was instructed to cease the satellite wifi project and to provide documents and information to their office.

“It is clear in my correspondence of 22 September 2020 that ‘we all want to offer and serve our people the best way we can, but we must do it within the scope of the law, regulatory measures are not legislated for decoration is established to ensure amongst other things service delivered is safe (in the absence of proper particulars we cannot identify interference to and from…services),” the Order dated 22 September states. 

“As a result of Netvo’s failure to comply with the directions in my letters of 15 and 22 September 2020 of which they were informed of the ramification of failure to produce the necessary information and documents. 

“Netvo is ordered to immediately cease and desist roll out and continuation of the Project until all regulatory measures are met and approval is given by the Regulator.” 

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