TREASURER Ian Ling-Stuckey says modernising Papua New Guinea’s telecommunications sector can help transform the national economy.
In meetings held with Telstra chief executive officer Andy Penn in Melbourne earlier this month, Ling-Stuckey said: “Broader access for our people to modern, low cost data and voice communications can make PNG a safer, richer and better educated nation.”
Telstra is in the process of buying Digicel’s entire Pacific business which includes Digicel PNG for US$1.6 billion (about K5.48 billion).
“Around the globe, it is recognised that modern telecommunications can connect people in ways simply not possible using traditional land-line phone services,” Ling-Stuckey said.
“A good, fast data connection can allow our small-to-medium-sized enterprises to reach out to markets around the world without having to go through middlemen.
“This means better access to bigger markets with greater returns to our entrepreneurs.
“Access to better, faster, cheaper data also opens doors for dramatically increased education opportunities.
“Combined with appropriate safeguards, it can also bring low-cost banking services throughout our country without the need for physical bank branches.
“Connections to families and wantoks is much easier.
“And it could even make it easier to watch the State of Origin.”
Ling-Stuckey said getting the gains from a better telecommunications sector would require greater investment in PNG’s infrastructure (such as more towers in more locations).
“It will require good regulation to ensure that the gains from the submarine cables to PNG are shared broadly,” he said.
“There is a need to improve greater access to the more modern 4G network rather than the older 2G and 3G networks.”
The National / PNG Tech Times
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