REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE
World Summit on the Information Society
(1st phase – Geneva, December 2003)
The Minister for Transports, Public Works and
Communications Mr. Ovídio Amaral
10-12 December 2003
History of ICT in Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste occupies a territory of 24,000 square kilometres on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia. Timor-Leste has a population of approximately 800,000 people living in 13 District Capitals.
Since the referendum held on September 1999, all ICT Services were destroyed in Dili Capital and other districts in Timor-Leste. During the UNTAET period in Timor-Leste, telecommunications services were operated by Telstra and the United Nations Organization. At the same time, ETPA (East Timor Public Administration), with the support of International Staff, conducted a survey for the preparation of an International Tender for BOT. In the tender process, we counted on the support and assistance from ADB and ITU, who provided some consultants for this tender preparation.
BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) means that the new operator will install a Telecommunications Network Service in Timor-Leste according to the terms of reference included in the tender.
Processing International Tender for Telecommunication in Timor-Leste needs time - nearly 2 (two) years have been required to find bidders and nominate the winner for the BOT project.
The Concession Contract was signed between PTI (Portugal Telecom
International), as the winner of this International Tender, and the República Democrática de Timor-Leste on July 19, 2002.
In this context, PTI (Portugal Telecom International) created a new company, Timor Telecom, in Timor-Leste to do this difficult job in this new country in the 2nd millennium.
After the contract was signed, the new - operator had to provide a telecommunication mobile network system within 4 months in five big districts and, after 13 (thirteen) months, the operator had to provide mobile and fixed lines telephones in all country of Timor-Leste.
Current Situation of ICT in Timor-Leste
Telecommunication services are operated by Timor Telecom as a new company that was created by PTI (Portugal Telecom International), the main winner for International Tender in Telecommunication. With Head Office in Dili, Timor Telecom has the exclusive operation of services pertaining to fixed and mobile telephones, data, leased circuits, transport of diffusion signal and international links of all these services. It also exploits the Internet Service. According to the concession contract signed on July 19, 2002, the exploitation concession of telecommunication operation in Timor-Leste was attributed to Timor Telecom for a 15-year period.
At present, mobile telephone services are already operating in 5 Districts (Dili, Baucau, Suai, Lospaios & Oecussi) and fixed telephone in Dili capital.
As already planned, mobile telephone services will be available in all Districts by the end of October 2003. Meanwhile, the network for fixed telephone is also under construction at the same time in each District.
The national network telecommunication was inaugurated on November 28, 2003 for all Timor-Leste. Afterwards, Timor Telecom will install the rest of the Infrastructure in the country, such as SDH transmission backbone, local network, thus offering more services to a growing number of customers.
Currently, there is a public radio broadcasting service (RTL) in Dill Capital and all districts, radio community in some districts and Television of Timor-Leste (TVTL) in Dili Capital. They will be extended to other districts in the future.
The Government has prepared its own Data Center network in providing internet-based facilities for government services with a 512 kb/s bandwidth, to be increased to 1 Mega for the next fiscal year 2004. The Government is also trying to provide PABXs network for its own network.
All activities in the telecommunications sector are now under the control of the Government. The Government has established a regulatory body named "ARCOM" (Autoridade Reguladora das Comunicaçóes). It is an organization under the authority of MTCOP (Ministry of Transport, Communications and Public Works), which is responsible for all telecom activities, such as frequencies management, tariff control, telecommunication policy, licensing, quality of service, etc.
ICT Challenge in Timor-Leste
- Power limitation, as Timor Telecom has to provide a generator in each site.
- All telecommunication equipment had to be installed in containers because all buildings were destroyed
- No transmission backbone in place
- No local ICT Manufacturer
Human resources are a big challenge for the Government and, in particular, for Timor Telecom. At present, there are minima human resources with the capabilities to exploit ICT issues in Timor-Leste.
The Government is seeking the opportunity to develop the capacity of ARCOM staff, in order to regulate the operators, such as Timor Telecom and the ISPs, in providing services with the adequate quality of service and the best price for their customers.
Another challenge is to educate the people in using ICT facilities.
Content and Application
The first priority in Timor-Leste will be to provide e-Government services, taking advantage of the current reconstruction of the country. The master plan will be set up soon, in order to provide the necessary guidelines for all concerned.
For the moment, there is no specific framework for the regulation of internet-based services. This issue will be addressed through the definition of a regulatory framework to be set up during 2004.
The Government has issued recommendations to some ISPs, such as Timor Telecom, ETC (East Timor Communication) and I-NET, in order to start providing basic services to Internet users.
Impact of ICT in Timor-Leste
If we educate the people in using those ICT facilities, I believe that the growth of ICT-based services in Timor-Leste will boost the national economy.
Civil society will get more information when easy access to ICT facilities, such as fixed telephone, mobile phone, internet, radio and television, is spread all over the country.
ICT will be very important for Timor-Leste to develop its links with other countries and making its market more appealing for potential investors.
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