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Over 300 Digicel Towers in Rural PNG do not make Money

Out of its 1050 transmission Digicel  tower sites covering 80 per cent of the Papua New Guinea's population, more than 300 do not make a single toea for the company.

That is the reality, mobile communications operator, Digicel PNG, has to contend with to maintain its vast infrastructure beyond the fringes of urban boundaries alone.

Digicel PNG senior vice president, Lorna McPherson, told the Post-Courier in an interview on Wednesday that the company strives to service PNG beyond its cities,
towns, and urban areas. Also adding the recent interruptions to its shorts codes was just one part to an issue that all good systems and machinery face in expanding services that are of good
quality.  There are 200 towers sites that are only serviced via helicopters.
“Even the best sports car can have issues,” she said.  “We have over 1050 sites, we service over 200 rural sites by helicopter that we also subsidize over 300 towers, as in we don’t make any money from them.
“Those are facts that people don’t realise. We also have the Digicel Foundation where we spend over US$3 million (K10m) a year to build more than 524 schools in PNG.
“And we pay our taxes.”  She said while 80 per cent may seem not all of the population, the geography of the country itself makes the gure an astonishing achievement for an operator to do so
in its 12 year history.
“With the state of the population 100 per cent coverage is denitely not possible,” Ms McPherson said.
“A good example is that PNG has 17 people per square kilometer, whereas Africa has almost 600 people per square kilometer.  “So you can’t even compare Papua New Guinea to Africa, yet people like to compare us to many dierent countries, but I tell them I have been all over the world and  Papua New Guinea is unique.
“It is one place you can think about where you have no roads, no main power grid across the country, yet you have a (Digicel) 4G network across the country.”
She said operating expenditure costs to run the network are extremely high because the use of helicopters, sites and the cost of connecting rural PNG.

Post Courier/eHow PNG

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