Address by Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, MP
Head of Papua New Guinea Delegation to the World Telecommunications Development Conference
30 March to 11 April 2014 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Mr. Chairman, His Excellency Secretary-General of ITU, Ministers, Distinguished Delegates and Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the Papua New Guinea delegation, I offer congratulations on your election, Mr. Chairman, as Chair of this important Conference, and I would like to extend my appreciation to you and the staff of the International Telecommunication Union for organizing this very important Conference. Let me also take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of United Arab Emirates for hosting this WTDC of 2014, and also for extending to all of us participants a very warm welcome.
On behalf of the Government of Papua New Guinea, my delegation and personally for myself, l would like to also express my Government's deepest sympathy to the Government of Malaysia, particularly to the families of those whose loved ones went missing on the flight MH370.
The WTDC-2014 is a landmark, global conference which provides Members and other stakeholders with an opportunity to assess the progress that has been made since the last World Telecommunications Development Conference in 2010 (WTDC-2010).
The world has seen many changes since then; new telecommunications providers have emerged, new telecommunication networks, devices, and services have also entered the market place bringing better choice and new opportunities for all. There is realisation by all, of the role that ICTs play in all areas of our daily lives and how important they are for social and economic development. These developments have been accompanied by challenges such as security of networks and cybercrime that requires consideration at the highest level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me now to share with you briefly key developments in the ICT sector in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since WTDC 2010. PNG is a developing country with an estimated population of 7 million in 2013 and is the largest of the Pacific Island countries
The Government of PNG has been conscious of the role adequate communications services can play in nation building and has therefore been committed over the past ten years, to ensure that ICT services and infrastructure are expanded rapidly.
With the introduction of competition in the ICT sector, access to fixed lines and mostly mobile phones have grown from a modest state of less than 10 percent of the population in 2010 to about 45 percent in January 2014, and prices for calls have fallen by about 65 percent.
Considerable progress has been made in the opening of markets, with the issuing of new licenses and the introduction of regulatory measures to support new entrants. However, overall market remains very fragmented and the development gap is still wide. Many obstacles remain to be overcome and high on that list include the need to connect all our citizens that remain unconnected today. We believe increasing our level of connectivity will also lead to broadband services becoming widely available and affordable.
The PNG Government recognizes that broadband is an accelerator of social and economic development in the modern world and creator of international competitiveness in the global information economy. Therefore in late 2013, my Government adopted a National Broadband Policy (NBP) that will see PNG capitalise on the existing technologies to facilitate innovation, enhance competitiveness, increase productivity and economic development, promote greater social inclusion, and facilitate the sustainable use of broadband services in the future.
The Government has also initiated projects aimed at accelerating the use of broadband services in PNG and this include the e-Government project aimed at providing key government services on-line to citizens, and the development of a national broadband infrastructure currently undertaken in connection with the PNG Gas (LNG) project.
A rural communications program is soon to be implemented which is aimed at encouraging the private sector to build and operate communications networks initially funded by loan financing through the World Bank. The rural communications program is part of the universal access program aimed at connecting all unconnected communities of PNG and will be funded in the long
run by Universal Service Fund (USF) sustained through an ICT Operator levy model.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) spectrum licences has also been granted to mobile operators which will not only further extend the reach of ICT services and infrastructure, but also support the roll out of mobile broadband services in PNG.
The PNG Government has also set the target of year 2017 for switch over from analogue to digital terrestrial Radio and Television Broadcasting.
My Government has also commenced work on a SIM card registration scheme and is now considering a draft of a national cyber policy and an enabling legislation aimed at establishing a cyber-legislative framework.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At this point, I wish to acknowledge the support and assistance rendered by the ITU to our country particularly in the areas of spectrum management, broadband policy formulation, cyber legislation and the analogue to digital transition mapping. ITUs involvement in these programs, I must say, has been a motivating experience and very successful indeed.
The Ministry I am heading is looking forward to partnership with the ITU and all of you since we all share similar goals, concerns and a desire for success, I have no doubt that together we will be able to move ahead much faster than if we worked alone.
Delegates from across the world have gathered here in Dubai to discuss the implementation of the Dubai Action Plan and to propose further steps that will pave the way for future policy in telecommunications, leading to a truly global information society for all. I am hopeful and also certain that discussions here in Dubai will make a difference.
We are pleased that WTDC-14 will consider issues that are indeed pertinent to us in the Pacific which are contained in the APT common proposals such as; Telephone Number Misuse, Cyber-security, addressing digital divide and strengthening the execution role of the BDT.
It is our view that WTDC2014 can contribute positively to the ultimate aim of advancing the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. With your leadership, Mr. Chairman, and the efforts of the distinguished delegates, I am confident that we can produce real progress toward those goals and objectives.
To you, Mr. Chairman, and to all our colleagues, I extend, on behalf of the PNG Government, our best wishes for a very successful Conference.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.