24 Mar 2006

Fiji internet expert calls for unified Pacific development approach

1:23 pm on 24 March 2006

An internet expert says a unified approach to developing telecommunication infrastructure is where Pacific communications ministers should look to make gains when they meet next week.

The ministers and officials will be in Wellington to discuss how to bridge the so called digital divide.

A Digital Strategy for the region is one of the key ideas for boosting opportunities contained in the Pacific Plan which the Forum Island countries agreed late last year.

There has been discussion on inviting private investment and discouraging monopolies, but Rajnesh Singh, of the Pacific Chapter of the Internet Society, says there might be benefits in seeking region wide economies of scale.

"That's in terms of, like I think we have about 22 island countries and states. If they all banded together and purchased band width from international providers, you know, be it internet band width, voice traffic or whatever. Perhaps they would be able to negotiate a much better rate and then of course they would also need to work on a method of delivering whatever they buy."