The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
TELIKOM PNG needs an upgrade of its system to be able to provide competition to other telecommunication providers, Public Enterprise and State Investments Minister Ben Micah says.
He said this yesterday following remarks from the Opposition on the deal Telikom PNG signed for the deployment of a National Broad Network (NBN) with Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies.
Under the project, Telikom expects to see the construction of a network capable of delivering broadband via ADSLA2+ technology to more than 800,000 premises across the country.
Micah said the government saw the upgrade to improve and modernise its telecommunication asset.
He said: “With the signing of the NBN contract …this contract was entered into by Huawei and Telikom PNG during Somare government in early 2010 … and took a while for this contract to be negotiated.
“Telikom at this stage really needs complete upgrade of its systems, copper wires … together with other telecommunication infrastructure, which were established in the 60s, 70s and ’80s … technology has now progressed.
“Digicel, for instance, which operates under a mobile licence but also provides data services and other telecommunication services provided by Telikom.
“If we do not upgrade Telikom, this major state asset owned by the people of Papua New Guinea will be run down to the ground by Digicel.
“The government definitely wants to improve the value of Telikom and modernise it so that it could compete with Digicel and Bemobile, and bring all call rates down through wider coverage and enable more access to a much bigger population.”
Meanwhile, Micah said the national security concerns raised against Huawei Technologies should best be left alone for China and the United States.
“With regards to spying, I wouldn’t want to drag ourselves into an issue which should be best left to the Chinese and Americans.
“I wouldn’t want to drag Papua New Guinea and I do not want to drag our genuine efforts and attempts to develop our country – with issues that do not relate to the needs of our country,” he said.