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Pacific Islands

Proponents

Pacific Internet Technology Centre, Fiji Islands 

Partners

The proposal is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (a Pacific inter-Governmental organisation with the relevant mandate to pursue the Pacific region's Digital Strategy initiatives), and Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC)

Additional Information

Accessing reliable, low-cost, high speed internet connectivity in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is the primary goal underpinning the Pacific Plan digital strategythat was approved by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in October 2005. Whilst this remains achallenge even in many of the urban areas in many PICTs, the problem is worse in the more rural and remote areas. More than 80% of the estimated 9.15 million Pacific islanders live in rural and remotecommunities. All PICTs are developing nations. Many have trouble providing even basicinfrastructure, proper hygiene and health clinics, primary education and governmentservices to those living in rural and remote areas. Linking this population to the globalcommunication village through affordable and relatively high-speed internet connectivitycan unlock the socio-economic potential of these communities, as they can participate inknowledge exchange and commerce. Under the Auspices of the Pacific Plan Digital Strategy, funding has been secured toestablish a rural internet connectivity system (Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System[Pacific RICS]) that will provide an operational, reliable and low-cost utility which has the potential to link any / all rural and remote communities in the Pacific to local and globalInternet communities. This initiative aims to address some of the major telecommunication challenges facing ruraland remote communities in the Pacific islands region including:

• lack of access to communications technology for rural and remote areas

• high costs of ICTs and access to ICTs

• lack of good utility and public services

• digital and communication divide affecting mostly rural and remote areas

• lack of economies of scale to attract better prices and competitive alternatives for acceptable service levels

• lack of technical expertise and human resource training opportunities

• limited or no opportunities for primary education, public health, information sharing and business development

• isolation

Apart from the Pacific RICS system, the session will include some other examples and initiatives for Access solutions in the Pacific region.