People are the common denominator of progress. So… no improvement is possible with unimproved people, and advance is certain when people are liberated and educated. It would be wrong to dismiss the importance of roads, railroads, power plants, mills, and the other familiar furniture of economic development… But we are coming to realize… that there is a certain sterility in economic monuments that stand alone in a sea of illiteracy. Conquest of illiteracy comes first.

–John Kenneth Galbraith

Vodafone’s Coverage Map: 

Vodafone Coverage Map
Part I of this post contains a technical discussion of implementing a WI-MAX network to provide communication to rural and outer-island communities.

Enabling Universal Access (Part I) received the most comments and feedback from readers. People understand that present efforts at deregulation offer us the chance to move away from the shackles of years past, as well as an opportunity to chart a brighter course for communications infrastructure in Fiji.

Specific objectives of The Coconut Wireless include raising awareness of the importance of these changes. Additionally, the aim is to:

1) Ensure deregulation means access for those who cannot afford it

2) make sure current efforts do not hoodwink the people of Fiji into something similar to the prior agreement—locking the country into additional years of little progress.

Provisions have been included in the new arrangement that will require current and new operators to fund efforts to provide universal access as well as contribute toward the expansion of Fiji’s communications infrastructure.

From a Fijilive article:

Telecom operators’ licence fee is $1m per annum or 1.5 per cent of gross turnover for the previous financial year. whichever is greater. One per cent is for the licence fee and 0.5 per cent is the USO (universal service obligation) levy.

This is great news for everyone in Fiji. We are one step closer to funding the kind of WI-MAX network discussed in Part I.

With secured funding, ensuring universal access is definitely within reach. Those in decision-making roles must understand the benefits that come from the kind of public-private network discussed.

Providing internet access to schools can help improve education, offering teachers opportunities to pursue cutting-edge curriculum and programs for their students.

Those living in rural and outer-islands will no longer be subjected to the tyranny of distance. Police, fire and other emergency services can also benefit from improved communications facilities.

It is time for ALL of Fiji to be connected to the Global Village. This is a very important step in improving our people.

Readers, if you have access to information on the deregulation effort and know of any section of it that comments on the implementation of WI-MAX networks, your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated here. Specifically, what can you tell us about the existing players (Vodafone, ATH, and Kidanet) stance on the implementation of a WI-MAX network?