UCG WINS BID FOR WORLD BANK SUPPORTED CONTRACT TO BRING FIBRE CONNECTIVITY TO ISOLATED PACIFIC ISLANDS
Universal Communications Group (UCG) has achieved a major win by being awarded a tender to
deliver critical telecommunications infrastructure to the Federated States of Micronesia in a project
supported by the World Bank. UCG will design a Fibre to the Home network in the three main
islands of Yap, Pohnpei and the Kosrae States of Micronesia, a project which UCG Group CEO
Muralee Siva describes as a “game-changer” for the Pacific nation.
The Federated States of Micronesia is an archipelago of 607 islands covering 2.6 million sq km just
north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean. UCG is one of New Zealand and Australia’s
leading suppliers of a range of broadband design and construction services, particularly for next
generation broadband networks. The contract was tendered by Federated States of Micronesia
Telecommunications Cable (FSMT Cable), supported by grant funding from the World Bank.
FSMT Cable is an open access wholesale only infrastructure provider and is a key part of the FSM
Government’s strategy to unlock the digital potential of the nation. “This is a way of introducing new
players into our market to make sure that there’s competition, that there are options for our citizens
in the telecommunications field,” stated FSM President David Panuelo. “We’re confident that this is
going to definitely benefit our citizens.” he added.
“Expanding access to world class telecommunications services will promote private sector
investment in digital services and establish the critical foundations for digital government services
and the digital economy for this country of 105,000 people,” Mr Siva said.
“Providing connectivity to households, businesses, schools and government will facilitate
unconstrained access to the recent investments in undersea fibre connectivity between FSM and
the wider world. This is a fantastic initiative for the people of FSM and we believe it is a very
effective model for other, equally resource-challenged Pacific nations,” Mr Siva said.
“The recent COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted the need for improved telecommunications to
support people working in isolation as well as supporting expanding economies throughout the
region. Importantly, COVID-19 will be no barrier to the implementation of this project because our
skilled management team have developed systems and processes that enable remote training for
the FSM local team in the prerequisite skills required to deliver a successful deployment of the UCG
designed FTTH (Fibre To The Home) networks. This skills transfer is a vital component of building
local capability for the operation and future expansion of local networks,” Mr Siva said.
“The project underscores our UCG values of innovation, team-work and integrity which have been
recognised in the awarding of this contract. We are extremely proud of the work of our Australian
and New Zealand teams who have combined their expertise to deliver a great outcome for this
small Pacific nation,” Mr Siva said.
Universal Communications Group (UCG) has established a new Smart Cities Business Unit to
support growing demand for services outside the traditional telecommunication markets and has
appointed Ian Hatton as the General Manager Smart Cities to support the growth in the smart city
space. UCG Group CEO, Muralee Siva, said “The establishment of the new Business Unit is the
next logical step for UCG which reflects the growing demand for smart city solutions, including
remote working, automation, near real-time information and always-on technologies. We are
excited to have Ian, who is one of the pre-eminent leaders in this field, join our experienced
Executive Team as part of the Group’s continued growth”.
Mr Hatton was responsible for the implementation of Australia’s largest IoT network in one of South
East Queensland’s largest and leading councils, delivering financial, environmental and economic
benefits, including smart metering for a local water utility over a large-scale LoRaWAN network and
cutting edge, cloud-based data analytics and data science tools.
Mr Hatton has also led the construction of a new council-owned optical fibre network which was a
key enabler to successfully hosting one of the biggest major international sporting events ever held
in Queensland, and achieving capacity increases and substantial direct and indirect financial
benefits. The network also supports the operation of the largest free public Wi-Fi network in
Australian local government, realising millions of dollars in direct and indirect benefits for over 2
million users to date.
This new Business Unit builds on UCG’s 25 years of telecommunications experience, and reflects
the global shift towards smart city investments.
“The recent COVID-19 crisis has significantly accelerated the work from home and smart city
agendas. We believe that the continued move towards smart technologies and remote working will
gather pace in the coming years, requiring enhanced underlying telecommunications networks and
integration across previously separate operating environments” said Mr Siva.