Papua New Guinean’s can attest to the long drawn out issues to do with the internet rates and the rates charged by Internet Service Providers (ISP), and while many experience these issues on a daily basis the same issue has long affected Business houses throughout the country when conducting business, which has prompted the National Research Institute (NRI) to engage one of the internationally recognized accounting and management consulting firms in the country to conduct a study.
NRI engaged Deloitte Access Economics to conduct the study after it had heavily invested in video conferencing and experienced a falling out with the internet on more than one occasion this thus prompted the study and its findings were presented today in a power point presentation that saw in attendance Internet Service Providers (ISP) along with consumer watchdog Independent Consumer & Competition Commission (ICCC) and National Information & Communications Technology Authority of PNG (NICTA) along with interested individuals.
The findings were presented by Todd McInnis, Manager of Deloitte Access Economics who spoke on the five (5) key areas which are: Specific Issues-Coverage-Infrastructure-Wholesale & Retail Competition- Regulation.
“Since the turn of the century in 2000 the internet has grown significantly it has found that on average, the price of a standard fixed internet connection in 2013 was more than two and a half times the income of an average PNG citizen and this has affected individuals and businesses with infrastructure there are two types cable and satellite and PNG uses cables because its faster however we found during the course of the study to that from the APNG cable that POM links into from Madang , three (3) out of the of those cables don’t work and on average one week out of the past six (6) months this has caused outages so between Madang and Port Moresby there is a reliability concern”. Said McInnis.
The study concluded that in order for prices to be reduced there has to be a policy response both long term and short term, the long term policy is for ISP’s to reduce wholesale rate, Regulatory Reform and Retail Management Reform the short term policy is that a holistic ICT industry strategy, Strengthening Regulatory frameworks and Governance, Review of Wholesale policy, Monitoring of Retail Policy and a Review of the role of Government in the telecommunications industry and explore other areas of improving internet services.
In the meantime internet rates will not drop overnight however within the five (5) key areas all key players of ISP’s and telecommunication players along with regulatory bodies need to collaborate, communicate and work along with each other to ensure prices can be reduced significantly.
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