Cyclone Gita’s unsung heroes
With Tropical Cyclone Gita causing much damage over the weekend, Bluesky’s network remains resilient.
In a statement from the telecommunication company, Director of Bluesky’s Technical Operations, Leuo Alani Faiai said: “We’re proud to say that 60 percent of our network remained live during Tropical Cyclone Gita despite power outages, fallen trees, damaged poles and destructive winds and rain.”
The statement says Bluesky offered 20 free minutes to call any Bluesky number and free 100 MB of data for all its prepaid mobile customers on Saturday.
The team immediately went to work and made available Bluesky’s Maluafou office and Matafele store for power charging mobile phones, it further stated.
“Our sites remain up and running because of our battery banks which keep them going when E.P.C. power gets cut. Battery banks last for six-seven hours and when they run out, our generator sets on most of our sites set in,” explained Papalii Omana Sua, Bluesky’s Manager of Information Systems and Core Networks in the statement.
“Where we have no generators on our sites, our technical teams go out and recharge batteries to try and keep as many sites without generators online as we wait for E.P.C. power recovery.”
Leuo further said: “The work hasn’t been easy. Our technicians and staff have had to literally climb mountains in Savai’i on foot and drive long distances, working around the clock and away from their own families. But although the challenge has been great, the team have delivered for our customers.”
“We want to say a special thank you to all of our customers and our country for their encouragement and their messages of gratitude. We especially thank God for protecting us and our families.”
“We’ve had wonderful feedback from our people living overseas trying to contact family locally and they were able to reach loved ones through Bluesky’s Network.”
“On February 11, the day after the cyclone, we achieved 100 percent recovery of our network coverage in Manono. As of yesterday, we had 100 percent of our network working in Savaii. Today, Upolu is at nearly 90 percent recovery of the Bluesky network for all our mobile customers; over 86 percent coverage for all our broadband customers and nearly 80 percent recovery of our fixed landlines,” Leuo confirmed.
“A big thank you also to E.P.C. for their tireless work on reconnecting our power after all the damage. We are doing our best to support by setting up stations around the country with the use of our tower sites and generator sets to charge phone/s with our customers and members of the public.”
“These stations have been set up around Upolu at Faleasiu, Lufilufi, Lalomanu, Vaovai/Falealili, Siumu, Savaia/Lefaga and Samatau/Falelatai. In Savaii we have set up Salelologa Market and Tuasivi.”
“Our customers remain at the heart of all we do. We are passionate about serving them and helping Samoans receive the best coverage and services country wide.”