Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

James Neumann of the World Bank meets with President Mori's Telecommunications and Submarine Fiber Optics Task Force

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): November 5, 2011 - James Neumann, a Policy and Regulatory Specialist of the World Bank, met with the Department of Transportation, Communication, and Infrastructure and the Cabinet Members of President Mori's Task Force for Telecommunications and Submarine Fiber Optic Connectivity. The five day visit (October 24 to 29) was a follow-up to the letter sent from the President to the World Bank.

Mr. Neumann briefed Secretary Itimai, who is the Chairman of the President's Task Force and the Task Force on the purposes of the World Bank engagement and the key findings of the draft report prepared by the World Bank consultants. The draft report reviewed the evidence-based research pointing the need to establish a policy and legal framework for market liberalization to achieve the economic and social benefits of telecommunications. Other subjects in the report addressed the need to establish an independent regulatory body governing telecommunications; the submarine fiber optics option which would enable Chuuk, Kosrae, and Yap to improve international connectivity; the World Bank requirement for open and equal access for SFOC; strengthening the FSMTC through investment and debt restructuring alternatives; improving the capacity of the FSM Government to manage the telecommunications sector reform.

Mr. Neumann also briefly briefed the Task Force on The Program Appraisal Document (PAD) for a Regional Adaptable Program Loan for a Pacific Regional Connectivity Program. Mr. Neumann also described the changes which have liberalized telecommunications in the Pacific Islands region, especially in the South Pacific and the recently established Telecommunications Regulatory Center established by the World Bank and currently located at the Regional ICT Training Center at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

The World Bank is awaiting final comments on the draft report from the FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC) and the FSM Government. Once the comments are submitted, the World Bank will review the comments and finalize its study of telecommunications in the FSM. Secretary Itimai was hopeful that the report could be finalized by December and also requested that Mr. Neumann return to the FSM to directly brief the FSM Chief Executives Council (CEC) and the Micronesian Chief Executives Summit (MCES) on the report and the next steps in December 2011.

The World Bank is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The FSM became a World Bank member in 1993.

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