2018-02-07 Transition in 2018

I have been back in Palau nearly two weeks, and enjoyed internet performance that is even better than when I left in the second half of December. Download speeds on the DSL at my Malakal conapt have doubled, to just over 2 Mbit per second. That is enough to fulfil the hope I expressed on May 5 2017. This past weekend, I was able to watch the opening game of the AFLW live in Palau. It was the scrappiest game of the round, but the following three games demonstrated that the women are tougher, faster and more skilful than we saw in last years’ inaugural professional competition.

This may not mean much to many people here in Palau. But of course, it means that I can also now watch the World Cup live. That is a pretty big deal to billions world-wide in 2018. World Cup fanatics will be able to come to Palau, vastly expanding the potential tourist market.

We connected the first customer to BSCCnet on November 5th 2017, but the network has been running since the start of the confidence trial, back on September 11th 2017, without interruption. That is, coming up to five months operation. Yes, forget the nines, this isn’t 99.999% available, this is 100%. We are currently developing monthly reporting that will allow the public to see what we are achieving in terms of error-seconds (none) and Q, a network integrity measure, on our web site.

On December 7th, right on target, we declared Ready for Service at a celebration at the National Museum. Below, the BSCC team who were able to attend the launch, plus a passing photo-bomber. Richard was the Project Management Unit (PMU) engineer on the ground, Nishikawa-san led the technical due diligence, Paul is the founder of McCann Consulting International, the PMU provider, John Hibbard adds the big picture, strategy and global submarine cable engineering perspective for the PMU, and Nance is BSCC’s Operations Support Officer.

On December 7th, right on target, we declared Ready for Service at a celebration at the National Museum

There are many other PMU specialists who contributed mightily but were unable to attend, including Martin Blakely, Gary Ayre, Hugh McGarry, Steve Brock, Mike Gilbert, Austin Carwardine and Jim Byrne. Thanks to you all! First class work!

As a further demonstration of BSCC’s commitment to transparency, you can download our recently approved Business Plan on the Governance page of this website. (link to Governance download)

The plan focuses on FY2018, which has two key elements:

  1. Consolidating Operations
  2. Extending the network to CAP-A, a new Customer Access Point in Airai

The CAP-A extension, a microducted fibre optic link, will provide much greater accessibility for BSCC’s Retail Service Provider (RSP) customers at the Airai airport site. There will be more extensive customer co-location services than are available at CAP-N. CAP-A will also house the BSCC office. More on that as plans develop. An open procurement process for the next segment of the project commences in the next weeks.

We have signed contracts with all our main service providers – marine maintenance from TE-Subcom (USA), network operations center (NOC) from Globe Telecom (Philippines), customer service center (CSC) from Docomo Pacific, and for a high speed link in Guam to reach CAP-G from GTA (Guam). A 2 Mbit / sec backup VSAT service is currently being installed. The plinth is ready to go, and the order for the dish will be placed in the next week.

The Docomo Pacific and BSCC teams at the signing of the service agreement that underpins operation of BSCC’s Customer Service Center (CSC) in Guam.

The Docomo Pacific and BSCC teams at the signing of the service agreement that underpins operation of BSCC’s Customer Service Center (CSC) in Guam.

Earlier in the day, we held the final Cable Coordination Meeting with NEC. CCMs are critical to identifying and resolving project issues before they can threaten success. But this time there was not much to discuss. You can judge the outcome from the happy faces on the BSCC and NEC teams: all good!

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Reflecting the business plan’s 2018 focus on consolidating the excellent network construction phase in 2017, BSCC is currently  developing processes that coordinate functions and services from multiple supplier organisations, resulting in continuing excellent performance for BSCC’s customers.

The Board has agreed to hold a steady state through the remainder of 2018, and to review business settings once more data is accumulated on customer usage trends.

Meanwhile, the final civil works at the Ngeremlengui CLS are proceeding apace.