Source: Fiji Blog
Following the launch of a national broadband policy and the opening of a telecentre last year, Government has confirmed that eight more telecentres will be opened by the end of this year.
Public Enterprise and Communications permanent secretary Elizabeth Powell said since the launch of the policy, the regulated and transparent liberal market had facilitated competition and uptake of new technology at a faster rate.
Through this policy, Government also introduced a 1 per cent telecommunication levy on all voice bills, including pre-pay cards in order to fund many of the growth and capacity building in the information, communications and technology (ICT) sector.
“The full revenue from the levy is being used to build capacity to increase internet penetration, access at affordable prices,” Ms Powell said.
The ICT levy has been collected by Government into a trust account that will solely be used to increase accessibility of ICT services to all Fijians.
“The fund is being used to finance the government telecentre project will allow for communities to be able to use broadband internet services at designated community centres free of charge,” Ms Powell said.
“Three such sites are already in existence and Government will be establishing eight more such centres in 2012.”
Telecommunication stakeholders have been supportive in the establishment of policies such as the National Broadband Policy.
There was an extensive consultation phase, as well as face to face meetings and a workshop with licensed operators and stakeholders prior to the finalisation of the policy.
“The same also applies to the National ICT policy, which is currently under formulation and has also undergone similar consultations. The policies and the resulting action plans are continually reviewed to ensure relevance to current needs of the industry,” the permanent secretary added.
Government also provides 60 per cent investment allowance to Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) to facilitate new line installations.