The Board of Telecom Fiji,
The CEO of Telecom Fiji,
Commissioner Northern,
Staff of Telecom Fiji,
Invited Guests,
Our friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bula Sia!  It is a great pleasure to be here today for this important occasion to officially break ground for the first phase of Telecom’s fiber optic extension project between Savusavu and Labasa.

This ceremony marks a milestone for the people of Vanua Levu and Fiji’s backbone network capacity provider – Telecom, in reinforcing high speed, resilient and scalable connectivity between Savusavu and Labasa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am told, the Savusavu and Labasa fiber extension project is an important part of Telecom's 5-year fiber investment plan, which aims to enhance the resilience and accessibility of Fiji's communications network infrastructure. The extension of the underground fiber optic cables will enable Telecom to ensure business continuity and resilience for its network.

Today, people rely on access to telecommunication as a human right. And upon completion, this project will strengthen the communication network for the entirety of Vanua Levu – a great strategic significance supporting the on-going economic growth and development of the Northern Division.

At present, Vanua Levu depends on microwave links for connectivity which is unfavorably susceptible to damage causing service disruptions during natural disasters.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The project's main objective is to develop a highly resilient infrastructure that can accommodate future growth and demand for telecommunications services and less dependence on traditional Microwave here on Vanua Levu.
I had recently toured the Northern Division with my team and saw the immense potential this beautiful part of Fiji has to offer in the space of real estate, tourism development and Business Process Outsourcing – and having a reliable telecommunication service can truly revitalise and unlock economic opportunities for Vanua Levu and its people. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We believe the North has a great deal of potential. You have so much to offer and a lot of people bank on you.

One of our development partners, the World Bank, and the Fiji Government, will soon go into negotiations on a near US$200 million 10-year partnership. With this, we intend to provide critical infrastructure and essential services to set the foundation for what we hope for tourism in the north.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
With Telecom's continued investment in fiber infrastructure, the company is enabling businesses and individuals in Fiji to access faster and more reliable broadband connectivity, which is critical for driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness.

As part of this first phase, Telecom will implement first the Labasa to Seaqaqa fiber route and followed by the second phase which will be the Seaqaqa to Savusavu fiber route.

Today, we are breaking ground and taking important steps towards developing a robust and resilient national telecommunications infrastructure that can support Fiji's growth and development for years to come – and in this part of Fiji where it is most needed. A project at the cost of FJD $4,143,070 (VEP) this means a lot, a lot to the people of Vanua Levu, a lot to the children in the primary, secondary and tertiary system and a lot to the business communities and sectors it will serve.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to once again thank Telecom Fiji for its leadership and initiative. In the spirit of collaboration, we are breaking ground built on a bold vision that is truly commendable. I wish your team well in the successful completion of this project.

With those words, it’s now my pleasure to do the groundbreaking for the first phase of Telecom’s fiber optic extension project between Savusavu and Labasa.

Vinaka Vakalevu and Thank you.