RURAL mobile towers need upgrading to 3G and 4G status, says PNG Institute of National Affairs director Paul Barker.
Barker said accessible internet, including through mobile phones, was critical in a modern society and for PNG to participate in the global economy, providing jobs and economic and educational opportunities.
“The major bottlenecks must be overcome, such as a very costly new fibre-optic cable, which provides a major capacity and internet gateway, which has remained inaccessible to the local service providers and therefore users for over a year,” he said when outlining some of the areas that should be addressed this year.
“Affordable internet services and access for education, as now being provided in some provinces, need to be rolled out across the country.
“Clearly service providers won’t recover their investment, especially if lower rates are offered, unless usage expands substantially, with new services offered, which in turn requires that economic opportunities and activity also increase, which is a chicken and egg situation.”
Barker said Papua New Guinea had the internet, computers and a relatively substantial public service in 2021.
Yet data (information), whether demographic, economic and trade or social, is less available, timely or available now than in the late 1970s and early 80s.
“Efforts are being made, if slowly, to extend the integrated financial management system (IFMS) (in) districts,” he said.
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