Govt redoubling efforts on Universal Service Scheme to connect Fijians

11 Dec 2020

Fiji’s Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Inia Seruiratu, has said that the bill to amend the Telecommunications Act is ‘long overdue’ and that work needs to be done to address problems of unconnected areas across the country by strengthening the Universal Service Scheme. FijiVillage reports that, while moving the motion to debate the bill to amend the Telecommunications Act 2008 in parliament, Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that the government has identified 300 sites in Fiji that do not have any connectivity – fixed or mobile – and that under existing legislation, the provisions to redress that are slow. Sayed-Khaiyum is arguing for an amendment to the Telecommunications Act to make it easier ‘to move quickly in connecting the 5% of Fijians who face issues regarding connectivity’. Whilst some progress has been made in recent years – by working with mobile, radio and TV companies to share infrastructure in some areas – much more needs to be done. The Attorney General is quoted as saying that amongst other things, they ‘are looking at one tower with many transmitters for these unconnected areas rather than having many towers in one small area because companies will not have to fork out that much money’.