By MALUM NALU
Monday, July 22, 2013
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.
|One small step for NWS, a giant step for PNG…Maiha and former Teleikom CEO Peter Loko cut the ribbon to launch the revolutionary VSAT system last Friday.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU|
He said Papua New Guinea was way behind the rest of the world in information and communication 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 in this country.
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.
“India and China, and the fastest-developing countries, are those that have embraced ICT in a herculean manner.
“All our educational institutions, except the international schools, don’t have access to adequate internet service to do their studies.
“The children either cannot afford it, or if they do, it is too expensive and their downloads get cut off.
“This is the first for Wanples Wireless and we are told that plans are underway to roll out the service to schools in NCD, and districts through respective members of parliament.
“From here on, our children will have affordable internet for their studies, and the small and medium enterprises will also benefit.”