PNG on brink of IT revolution

From POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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Thu 06 Mar 2014

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Papua New Guinea
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PORT MORESBY, PNG --- Papua New Guinea is on the brink of an information technology revolution, Public Enterprise Minister Ben Micah said Wednesday.

Micah said the revolution of data will be through the commercialisation of the first PNG fibre network by the end of this month that will link from Madang into Lae and the Highlands region, including the LNG project area.

Micah said two significant events, the 2015 Pacific Games and the 2018 APEC Summit, will soon take place and PNG must move quickly to ensure its telecommunications and ICT structures are in place.

He said the Government has established a new State-owned enterprise, PNG DataCo Limited, to restructure the current state owned telecommunications network and other related assets.

He said the new board members of PNG DataCO, chaired by Kevin Kautu, an accountant by profession and the management headed by managing director Paul Komboi, is an important step in the information technology sector in the country.

Micah said this was an important step forward in the telecommunication sector made by the government to rehabilitate, restructure and modernise the country’s ICT and telecommunication infrastructure.

“The country has a lot of legacy issues that need to be ironed out and rehabilitated and this is no different to the Telecommunication network we have,” he said.

“It has now come to a point that more attention, resources and dedication is required in taking the implementation to the next level if there is going to be any impact.”

He thanked the IPBC for managing the National Transmission Network (NTN) impact project and focus must now be centered in this area as the economy will only grow stronger with a better integrated and efficient communication infrastructure.

“Our approach towards utilizing and commercialising the PNG LNG Fibre Cable which will be commissioned at the end of this month. We will now takeover maintenance discussion with ExxonMobil. We have already received enquiry on the usage of this key strategic infrastructure and are closely working with the interested parties to provide access as soon as possible.”

He said key backbone (wholesale) telecommunications infrastructure have been identified and valued and will be vested to DataCo and transferred from Telikom PNG.

“It is critical that DataCo is, and is seen to be, totally separate and independent.”

He said this was another milestone project for the government and should open up Papua New Guinea into the modern telecommunication and ICT era.

Meanwhile, all PNG government owned telecommunications and media companies have been challenged to lift their game.

These companies include the newly established Information Communication and Technology (ICT) company, PNG Dataco Limited, Telikom, B-mobile, National Broadcasting Corporation’s radio and television networks.

The challenge was issued by Public Enterprise and State Investments Minister Ben Micah during the swearing-in of the inaugural board members of Dataco in Port Moresby this week.

Micah said he wanted to see the level of services provided by these entities lifted to equal, if not better, those being provided by firms in the private sector.

He said the government was determined to improve service delivery to the masses and also wanted to partner with the private sector.

“I want Dataco, B-mobile and the others to lift their game. Once we are there then we can talk to the private sector.

“The private sector will want to partner with an entity that is robust. No entity will want to carry a business that is ‘sick and coughing,” he said.

The minister urged the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) – which he described as the ‘mother and father’ of those entities – to also take note.

Micah said the establishment of Dataco signalled the "cutting of the umbilical cord" between this entity and its parent and in doing so, made clear in no uncertain terms there would "be no baby sitting".

He said Dataco would now begin the important task of restructuring and overhauling the existing national communication and information systems, infrastructure and the present state owned wholesale communications network.

“The desired outcome is the development and implementation of a modern broadband driven, efficient, effective telecommunications and information communication system and network that is cost efficient with added value and efficiency to the delivery of both public and private sector services.”


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