23 Mar 2006

Pacific countries to be asked to end state monopolies of telecommunications

4:34 pm on 23 March 2006

State telecom monopolies need to go if the Pacific is to benefit from advanced telecommunications technology.

That is one idea advocated ahead of a meeting of Pacific Communication Ministers next week in Wellington.

They are to discuss the Pacific Forum's digital strategy, which is part of the Pacific Plan's aim to improve the economic and social wellbeing of people in the region.

New Zealand's Minister for Communications, David Cunliffe, will host the meeting.

He says if ICT is to flourish in the Pacific, the regulatory frameworks needs to be looked at and monopoly control is an inhibiting factor.

The Minister says they could encourage competition between different modes of communication such as wireless and broadband, along with an investor-friendly environment.

"There is probably enough of a business case in most of Pacific Island countries for private sector investment to flourish if the business environment is better. It is not simply a matter of requiring an aid handout from a multi lateral agency or a donor country to get it going.."