The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013
By MALUM NALU
INTERNET service providers (ISPs) have been bluntly accused of ripping off the people of this country when it comes to internet services.
Acting director of National Weather Service (NWS) Samuel Maiha lashed out at the predominantly foreign-owned ISPs in no uncertain terms during the launching of its state-of-the-art Very Short Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite communication system last Friday.
He said PNG was way behind the rest of the world in information and communications technology (ICT) and children were missing out on so many educational opportunities because of the ridiculously high internet costs in this country.
Maihe said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could not develop when internet costs were so high.Previously, the NWS used an ISP in Port Moresby, however, very high costs monthly costs and limited access forced them to seek VSAT services.
The new system, set up by 100% nationally-owned company Wanples Wireless, which is owned by USA-based PNG telecommunications and satellite engineer Mathew Wari and his family, allows NWS staff to have satellite access to real-time weather conditions in PNG and around the world at a fixed rate of K10,000 a month with unlimited internet downloads – which will save the organisation millions of kina in the long haul.
“The internet rates in this country are the highest anywhere in the world,” Maiha told guests including school children.
“I believe there is gross collusion on the part of internet service providers to exploit the citizens of this country of their right to information, knowledge, and development. I say this because in the 21st Century, information, technology and communication are power, and infrastructure such as this milestone installation is a stepping stone.
“Our children need to learn at the same level with their counterparts elsewhere in the world to be on par in terms of knowledge.”