LegCo members learn about UNN’s latest developments

Aziz Idris

Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) welcomed 20 Legislative Council (LegCo) members to their offices at Anggerek Desa Technology Park and Sumbiling yesterday.

The visit, organised by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC), aimed at briefing LegCo members on UNN’s latest developments since its formation two years ago.

The visit began with opening remarks from Permanent Secretary (Investment) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy and UNN Deputy Chairman Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid, followed by a welcoming speech from UNN Chief Executive Officer Dr Steffen Oehler.

“UNN is a very young company with a set of challenging objectives. They are set to position the Bruneian telecommunications industry and services offered on the level with the leading countries in the region. We are honoured by the visit from LegCo members as recognition of the role of telecommunication we have in the economic development of Brunei Darussalam,” Dr Oehler said.

Legislative Council members with UNN Chief Executive Officer Dr Steffen Oehler during the visit. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS

The LegCo members were given an overview of UNN, expectations set since it formed, how much it has achieved to date, and plans for 2021 and beyond.

The strategic areas of development of the infrastructure and services were explained, including the full modernisation of the mobile and fixed networks, full deployment of fibre in the country, and the support UNN provided during the fight against COVID-19.

The development of Brunei Darussalam as an ICT hub in the region is a high priority for UNN and important projects are under way or have been implemented to contribute to this target. This includes the launch of the Borneo IX, an international Internet Exchange, the implementation of the Cyber Defence Centre and other long reaching measures.

According to UNN, the transformation of the industry is already showing results and benefits for the public, with the broadband penetration rate increased significantly and now above 65 per cent, over 20,000 customers connected in the past 11 months and fibre deployed in areas not covered previously.

However, there are challenging projects ahead for UNN, including the deployment of infrastructure and fibre in rural areas.

To achieve this, UNN is focussed on developing the skills required for new technology and efficient operational approaches.

Steps are in place to create an environment of continuous learning and improvement within the company, creating tailored learning and training programmes for the vast majority of UNN’s employees.

The senior management team from UNN, who were present during the briefing session, provided insight to the developments from their domains.

The visit provided LegCo members an opportunity to learn the progress of UNN achievements, as most work carried out by the telco are done in phases and not all of them are visible to the public.

The visit ended with the LegCo delegation touring the UNN Telephone House (TelHouse) in Sumbiling.

The building was inherited from TelBru during the transformation period and is undergoing its own transformation under the care and guidance of UNN.

Renovation and refurbishment of TelHouse is expected to be completed by March 2021 and will house some 400 UNN employees from the technical and engineering teams, cybersecurity team, and Data Centre team.