The Government is embarking on a multi-million dollar telecommunication project to construct 200 new broadband 3/4G towers around the country by 2023.
This was revealed by the Minister of Communication and Aviation (MCA) Peter Shanel Agovaka on Thursday in his contribution to the Sine Die motion.
Minister Agovaka highlighted this when outlining a number of projects set to be undertaken by his ministry within the next few years.
He told Parliament government has passed a Cabinet Paper to construct 200 new broadband towers in all the 5o constituencies and parts of the country.
“This year we passed a Cabinet Paper for the Government to purchase 200 broadband towers.
“These towers will be 3/4G towers and will be distributed to the 50 constituencies and throughout the Solomon Islands,” he said.
He said the towers will be constructed in areas as far as Anuta, Ontong Java, Shortlands, and Renbel.
“Hopeful this would be completed in time for the Pacific Games in 2023,” he said.
He said the Australian Government is also supporting the Ministry of Police to construct a number of towers in Shortlands and Ontong Java.
“I know the Australian Government is working with the Ministry of Police in erecting two towers in the Shortlands and are looking at constructing one on Ontong Java,” he said.
He acknowledged the support from the Australian Government as this will complement the work of his ministry.
MCA Permanent Secretary Moses Virivolomo when appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in August said the major telecommunication project would cost around $45million.
He explained the plan to construct these towers is to ensure the majority of the population has access to reliable telecommunication.
The PS added, having the government to construct these infrastructures is part of supporting the telecommunication provider in the country.
“The support is part of government’s effort to support the telecommunication industry, similar to what the government is doing in helping the shipping industry, airlines, roads and other infrastructure development in the country,” he said.
Constructing of mobile towers around the country has been an expensive exercise for the telecommunication provider such as Our Telekom and Bemobile.
Recently Member of Parliament (MP) for East Guadalcanal Bradley Tovosia has stepped in to fund the construction of two new 3G towers in his constituency to ensure communities there have access to telecommunication.
Our Telekom has acknowledged the partnership which allowed communities in the region to have access to reliable telecommunication services.
Meanwhile, Minister Agovaka said work on the Honiara International Terminal is making progress after the Japanese engineers arrived in the country last month.
He further told parliament that work on upgrading the Munda international airport will be taken care of by World Bank.
“This is another big project in Western Province.
He said Seghe airport will be upgraded by the New Zealand Government under the aid corporation.
With regards to Taro, Suavano, and Lata airports, Minister Agovaka said he had a brief meeting with the Australian High Commissioner last week and there’s the verbal assurance to support the upgrade projects.
“Funding arrangements and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be sorted out soon,” the minister said.
Work on improving the airport in Renbel, Marau, Kira-Kira, and Small Malaita is part of the government’s plan, he also told parliament.
Under the redirection policy government is looking at renovating some of the old airports which had been lying ideal for some time.
These include; Avu Avu and Barakoma in North Vella.
The minister said the government is also looking at constructing two new airports in East Malaita and Isabel.
By MOFFAT MAMU