FIJI ‘ROADMAP’ TO LEAD TELECOM DEREGULATION

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FIJI ‘ROADMAP’ TO LEAD TELECOM DEREGULATION

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 12) – The deregulation of Fiji’s Telecommunications industry now hinges on the implementation of a reform "road map" which is currently being formulated by the Ministry of Information.

A telecommunication consultant with Tele planning of Finland, Arno Wirzenius, has been in the country since July and helping the ministry with the reform.

"The road map is put in place so we can open up the telecommunications sector. Once its open there’s no exclusivity," says Information Minister Marieta Rigamoto.

Rigamoto said a fund would be created to assist rural users including those in outer islands.

Currently six companies offer telecommunications services in Fiji, Telecom Fiji, Vodafone Fiji, Connect, Fiji Directories, Transtel, and Xceed Pasifika.

Of the six, two enjoy special status.

A report released by ITU World Telecommunications Indicators reports Fiji’s ranking - in the population coverage for mobile services in middle-income countries - stands at 55 per cent as compared to Tonga at around 90 per cent.

In provision of fixed landlines to rural areas, Fiji was far worse than Tonga - at 3 per cent as compared to Tonga’s 40 per cent coverage.

"Although geographic isolation is a factor, it cannot be an excuse", Wirzenius said.

December 13, 2005

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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