Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Communications meeting in Suva agreed to affordable ICT access

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (PIF Secretariat/FSM Information Service): April 30, 2002 - The Federated States of Micronesia joined in the recent Pacific Islands Forum Communications Ministers meeting in Suva that agreed on the horizon of Telecommunications in the Pacific.

Secretary Akillino H. Susaia, from FSM's Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure and his delegation attended the high-level meeting on April 17 to review the 1999 Forum Communications Action Plan and to considered policy issues associated with Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in the Pacific.

Secretary Susaia indicated that the recommendations adopted by the Communications Ministers included:

  • regional cooperation in telecommunication technologies;
  • policy formulation;
  • legal and regulatory frameworks;
  • development of ICT strategies at the national and regional levels.

The resounding message of the Telecommunications meeting was to provide the Pacific islands with affordable access to the influx of information technologies. Working with the theme - ICT for Every Pacific Islander, the Communications Ministers agreed to the following issues detailed the Forum Secretariat press release:

  • On cooperation, Ministers agreed that strong networking is required to ensure all stakeholders remain up-to-date on technologies. Members were requested to consider regular country participation in the annual technical meetings. They were also asked to take advantage of the resources of the CROP ICT Working Group and PITA to assist with national ICT issues and developments.

  • On legal and regulatory frameworks, Ministers directed that information on the Pacific Governance Project be forwarded to responsible national organizations to promote cross-sectoral participation in the development of a national telecommunications sector policy. The meeting supported the formation of national teams to work with their delegated national representative on the Pacific Governance Project.

  • On tariff issues, Ministers agreed to consider tariff re-balancing in collaboration with other relevant Ministries, bearing in mind the burden of cross-subsidisation on some sectors but also the desire to provide universal access. Carriers would be encouraged to explain the case behind current and proposed tariff regimes when considering changes through regulation.

  • On the extension of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) to trade in services, Ministers agreed to ensure that the telecommunications and ICT sectors be represented in national trade negotiations teams to ensure representation of telecommunications issues.

  • On international settlements and Internet charging, Ministers agreed to encourage service providers and industry stakeholders to make data available to the PITA Working Group; support joint regional representations on these issues at every opportunity. Ministers agreed that the Forum Secretariat, in collaboration with PITA, submit an information paper on international settlements and internet charging to the Forum.

  • On regional cooperation in communication regulation, Ministers agreed to information exchange, through PITA as the clearinghouse, and that this mechanism also be used to work toward harmonization of national legislation and regulations.

Ministers also agreed to encourage the sharing of relevant information with national stakeholders to initiate programs for greater Internet use in the community.

On strategic planning, Ministers directed officials to disseminate information on the UNDP/UNOPS National Strategies Project to responsible national organizations to promote cross-sectoral participation in the development of national ICT strategies.

On the regional ICT Policy and Strategic Action Plan, Ministers agreed to adopt the Pacific Islands ICT Policy and Strategic Plan, and noted that it should be linked to the Regional Energy Policy and Plan. Members of the CROP ICT Working group, in consultation with member countries, were to conduct regular reviews and updating of the Plan.

The meeting supported the formation of national teams to work with their delegated national representative on the Pacific Governance Project.

According to Secretary Susaia, all the recommendations from the meeting will be included in the Pacific Islands Forum meeting later this year.

The Secretary's delegation included: FSM Assistant Secretary of Communications, Jolden Johnnyboy; CEO/General Manager of FSM Telecommunications - Takuro Akinaga, and the Deputy General Manager, John Sohl.


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/