5 Dec 2007

Niue considering offer from China for struggling phone system

2:24 pm on 5 December 2007

The Niue Government, which is battling complaints about an increasingly inadequate phone system, is considering an offer from a Chinese firm to buy Niue Telecom.

Phone connections on the island are failing more frequently as the system struggles on with antiquated equipment.

The company says it can only make piecemeal repairs because it can't afford replacement.

The acting Premier, Fisa Pihigia, says the Government wants to renew the entire system but this may cost more than two million US dollars.

He says an unlikely solution is a Chinese firm's offer to own and operate the system.

"We are not too keen on allowing an overseas company to have ownership of one of our very important assets. We are doing all we can to ensure that we fix the phone system long term and remain [with the] ownership of Telecom."