Internet costs still high: Masiu

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INFORMATION and Communication Technology Minister Timothy Masiu admits the Coral Sea Submarine Cable (CS2) was not a sufficient intervention for people to experience lower costs and benefits of a growing digital economy.
Responding to questions from Alotau MP Charles Abel in Parliament yesterday, Masiu said that this was evident in the fact that while majority of people in the National Capital District were experiencing lower 4G data rates through Telikom PNG, the rest of the people across the country were not.
Abel asked on Tuesday when Papua New Guineans would benefit from CS2 and when communication agencies such as the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (Nicta) and PNG DataCo Ltd would provide result in real reductions of costs for the people.
“Through the CS2, Papua New Guinea has a bandwidth of 20 terabits per second,” Masiu said. “This capacity is well beyond Papua New Guinea’s forecasted demand.
“It should be noted that previously we were dependent on APNG2 (Australia-Papua New Guinea 2) cable which is an aging low-capacity submarine cable infrastructure from Sydney to Port Moresby.
“The deployment of CS2 is to improve internet reliability, speed, quality and affordability to unlock opportunities for economic growth and connectivity for PNG through key industries such as tourism and agri-business industries offering easier access to business and social services.”
Masiu said PNG Dataco should be acknowledged for its efforts to continuously reduce wholesale price since 2013.
“In 2013, the wholesale access rate was as high as K6,017.45 per megabyte per month,” he said.
“By mid-2016, Dataco made a reduction to about K1,575.16 per month and from there it fell further to K601.74 per month in 2017.
“Since the declaration of wholesale services, the maximum wholesale price for international submarine cable transmission capacity in PNG is determined by the Nicta.
“In March, Nicta announced a reduction of wholesale price of K209 per month.
“Nicta continues to consult closely with PNG Dataco on the wholesale cost modeling.
However, my ministry have recognised that CS2 is not a sufficient intervention for our people to experience lower cost and benefits of a growing digital economy.
“This is evident in the fact that while the majority of NCD is now experiencing a lower 4G data rates through Telikom, majority of our people in the rural areas are still not experiencing the benefits of the Coral Sea Cable.”

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