Pacific is in the grip of a telecommunications revolution
30 MAY 2008 BRISBANE (Pacnews) —– A study of Telecommunications needs in the Pacific Islands predicts that some countries will be demanding three times the international bandwidth they have access to at the moment, reports ABC TV
The study commissioned by Australia and carried out by a New Zealand company said the this demand would be driven mainly by increasing internet use.
The study said most Pacific Island countries would  have no alternative to satellite technology to meet their telecommunications needs for quite some time.
The consultancy company, Network Strategies Limited, said no other technology can span the vast distances involved to service what are generally sparsely distributed and relatively small populations.
The study makes a stab at how demand for bandwidth will grow. It predicts that by 2012, capacity demand in Solomon Islands will be 192 percent greater than now; the Cook Islands will want 150 percent more capacity; Papua New Guinea ( PNG) 90 percent  and Samoa and Vanuatu both 77 percent 
The study said  the two critical issues facing the region are affordability and accessibility. It said  the high costs of connecting to satellites are a major barrier to the efforts of small island countries to improve education and expand their economies.
It suggests that while access to submarine cable networks would  provide some relief for Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the majority of Pacific Island countries remain absolutely dependent on expensive satellites.
The study recommends that costs could be brought down by greater regional cooperation with island nations ceding autonomy over telecommunications to a cooperative venture.
It said  the benefits could be very high and the Pacific should examine how island countries in the Eastern Caribbean have set up a regional Telecommunications Authority to combine their markets and simplify regulations……PNS (ENDS)