9 Jun 2004

USP academic condemns monopolisation of telecommunications in Pacific countries

10:35 am on 9 June 2004

A senior academic says Pacific island governments are locking their countries away from the benefits available from low cost telecommunications.

Professor Ron Duncan of the University of the South Pacificsays they do this by monopolisation of telecommunications services.

Writing in the FIJI TIMES, Professor Duncan says Pacific island countries blame geographical isolation from major markets for their poor economic growth and poverty reduction performance.

But, he says, the very low cost telecommunications now available throughout the rest of the world offers Pacific countries the chance to overcome this and increase their peoples' welfare much faster.

Professor Duncan says by agreeing to high cost, monopoly telecommunications services, Pacific governments are marginalising themselves and their countries will lose job opportunities and income growth.

He says low-cost telecommunications in rural areas offers people the chance to generate incomes, educate their children, develop new skills and stop the urban drift.

But he says Pacific governments are depriving their people of these benefits.