SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Sept. 26) - A United Nations communications technology specialist has criticized a draft economic plan for Solomon Islands because it overlooks use of the Internet.

David Leeming, from the Peoples First Network, a UN-sponsored body which promotes digital networking in rural areas, says the Internet could improve the lives of rural people, who make up 85 per cent of Solomon Islanders.

"In the Solomon Islands, it is very difficult to deliver education to rural areas because they lack basic communications facilities, so provision of rural communications using the Internet is a way education can extend its delivery to those areas," he said.

"If we lose this opportunity it may mean that the policies and programs that come out will not be as effective as they could have been."

The Australian-led intervention force in Solomon Islands is coordinating the drafting of the economic plans.

September 29, 2003

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