The operations of the Government’s wide area communications network, SIG-Connect, is being further boosted with the signing of a maintenance and upgrade contract with a local communication services provider, Satsol.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Harry Rini inked the deal with Satsol Managing Director Anthony Ferris, enabling the Solomon Islands Government to continually upgrade the SIG-Connect, more efficiently detect issues and provide timely assistance to all Government sites, including the most remote ones in the provinces.

Director of Information, Communication and Technology Support Unit (ICTSU) Smith Iniakwala said having a service contract in place enables the National Government to have access to extra expertise to manage the devices and draw on wider resources in rolling-out, troubleshooting or configuring equipment across the country.

The ICTSU is the Central Government agency responsible for the implementation and roll-out of one of the largest government wide area networks in the Pacific.

The SIG-Connect initiative now has 5350 users connected across 110 SIG agencies in Honiara and 48 in the Provinces.

“This exponential growth over the last couple of years is a very positive indication of the commitment our government’s policy to a modern and digitized Solomon Islands Public Service delivery system,” Mr Iniakwala said.

“As government agencies become more dependent on this infra-structure, the demand for more rapid and effective support also increases. SIG-Connect is now a very large and complex environment with several different technologies and devices pervasive across the country, where the vast majority are not easily procured in-country.”

“This imposes serious risks to ICTSU’s ability to maintain its high standards for service delivery, entailing the team to look for alternatives to overcome and mitigate those risks.”

Mr Iniakwala said one of the strategic goals from our Government’s National Development Strategy is to significantly increase access to information and communications technology and SIG-Connect plays a major role in the achievement of that goal, providing affordable access to technology to whole-of-government, improving the efficiency of public service delivery where citizens and Public Servants across the country can benefit from the use of key SIG systems.

He said the maintenance and upgrade contracts becomes paramount in ensuring continual upgrades, further connectivity and more importantly the sustainability of all the ICT infra-structure already functioning throughout the country as a result of SIG-Connect.