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PNG Govt seeks partnership on ICT

THE Government plans to work with telecommunication companies to provide services to the “unconnected” five million people of Papua New Guinea.

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy Sam Basil, pictured, revealed this during a workshop on the national strategic plan for Universal Access Services last week.
The workshop discussed how to achieve universal access to information and communications.
“As of 2017, less than 40 per cent of the 8.5 million people in PNG had access to mobile phones while about 4 per cent had access to high-speed or broadband internet service,” Basil said.
“While the population with access to communication services continues to grow, about 60 per cent of our population, mainly in rural areas, remain unconnected.
“Our challenge is to connect the remaining 60 per cent of our people wherever they may be to communication services.
“Many of commercial service providers see citizens and residents as customers. As investors and businesses, your focus is on the market formed by these customers and their economic viability.
“Under this UAS programme, the government and its development partners and the industry need to make a deliberate effort to fund the programme targeting the un-served and under-served citizens and residents.”
Basil said the National ICT Act empowers the National Information and Communication Authority to ensure that up to two per cent of levies were contributed by service providers.
“The benefitting communities will own the programme. They must ensure that facilities constructed to provide services are safe from looting,” he said. “Individuals hired to construct universal access facilities must know the value for money and must not be compromised.” The National/PNGeHow

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