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PORT VILA. Vanuatu (May 3, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Vanuatu's Infrastructure Minister says he will urge the Government to assume a greater role in regulating the nation's telecommunications services.

Taga Tarikarea, who recently returned from a regional meeting of telecommunications ministers in Fiji, said while the private sector in island countries is being encouraged to take the lead in introducing new technologies, Governments have a stewardship role in ensuring that the best possible services, at the most reasonable prices, are available in each country.

The Minister said he believes it is necessary for Vanuatu to achieve significant reductions in both domestic and international telecommunications tariffs.

He also said rural areas, which have never received telecommunications services, must be provided with telephones, and information services such as the Internet also should be made available widely.

Tarikarea suggested that earlier Governments had not carried out their responsibility to regulate the telecommunications sector.

"They had never considered changing the telecommunications laws even though the technology was changing rapidly.

"We must catch up with the new technology," said Tarikarea.

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