Free WiFi Brings Smile to North

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The en­tire ethos of the Bain­i­marama Govern­ment is to leave no Fi­jian be­hind and to meet the needs and as­pi­ra­tions of every­one- some­thing they have been do­ing for the last nine years. No­mai Ti­naimaitai Vil­lager from Do­go­tuki

Peo­ple in the North have a rea­son to smile - as now they have ac­cess to free Wi-Fi in­ter­net.

The free Wi-Fi launch was of­fi­ci­ated by Walesi board di­rec­tor Robert Khan out­side the Labasa Civic Cen­tre.

This ini­tia­tive was pos­si­ble un­der Govern­ment’s Dig­i­tal Fiji pro­gramme.

The free Wi-Fi hotspot which is ex­pected to pro­vide high level in­ter­net speed was an ini­tia­tive that was an­nounced in the 2018-2019 Na­tional Bud­get with a $40 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion for in­creased speed in pub­lic Wi-Fi hot spots in Fiji. These lo­ca­tions in­clude My Suva Park, Si­ga­toka bus stand, Koroivolu Park in Nadi, Shirley Park in Lau­toka, Ba bus stand, Korovou Mar­ket, Syria Park in Nau­sori, Labasa Civic Cen­tre and Savusavu Mar­ket.

Na­tional cons­esus

No­mai Ti­naimaitai of Do­go­tuki said the free Wi-Fi in­ter­net would al­low her to speak to his son who lives in over­seas.

“Buy­ing credit than sub­scrib­ing for a week for in­ter­net ac­cess was too much and ex­pen­sive.

“My $7 one week sub­scrip­tion would fin­ish in two days,” Ms Ti­naimatai said.

“With the free in­ter­net ac­cess, it would al­low me to speak with my son and to check, how he is do­ing. “The en­tire ethos of the Bain­i­marama Govern­ment is to leave no Fi­jian be­hind and to meet the needs and as­pi­ra­tions of every­one- some­thing they have been do­ing for the last nine years.

“So their vi­sion for na­tional de­vel­op­ment is, above all, an in­clu­sive one — to forge a na­tional con­sen­sus that the best way for Fiji to move for­ward is to en­sure that no project gets the green light un­less it passes the sus­tain­abil­ity test and is in the in­ter­est of all Fi­jians,” she said.

Ro­hit Sharma of Wailevu said the Bain­i­marama Govern­ment is de­ter­mined.

“The ini­tia­tive is part of a wider Govern­ment plan to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery through dig­i­tal means,” Mr Sharma said.

“It also en­vi­sions a time when peo­ple will not have to visit Govern­ment of­fices but get work done on­line.

“The move by Govern­ment de­served praise; I have had a lot of good re­sponses from the peo­ple of Si­ga­toka, es­pe­cially the Walesi TV where eight chan­nels are avail­able free.

“As for the wifi hotspot some­times we have no data when we need to use the in­ter­net for some­thing im­por­tant so this will cer­tainly help. “We are so blessed to get Walesi tele­vi­sion which means we will have eight chan­nels to se­lect from,” he said.

Dig­i­tal hub

Mr Khan said the launch of the wi-fi was the brain­child of Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama in his vi­sion to trans­form Fiji into a dig­i­tal hub.

“We want to en­sure that Fi­jians and the young peo­ple were able to ac­cess to free wifi,” Mr Khan said. “We will be­come a more knowl­edge base so­ci­ety if we adopt and use the tech­nol­ogy.

“We have to en­sure that our young peo­ple get ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy, get ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion so they can be­come a lot more em­pow­ered. “Walesi Lim­ited is a Govern­ment com­mer­cial com­pany that is gov­erned and man­aged by its own board of di­rec­tors, and not by FBC or any other tele­vi­sion broad­caster in Fiji.

“Walesi Lim­ited is re­spon­si­ble for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ana­logue to dig­i­tal broad­cast­ing mi­gra­tion and the man­age­ment of the Na­tional Dig­i­tal Tele­vi­sion in­fra­struc­ture.

“And, of course, use that in­for­ma­tion; use that tech­nol­ogy in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner in a man­ner that will be use­ful not just to them, their towns and cities, but also to the coun­try as a whole,” he said. Mr Khan was as­sisted by chil­dren of Labasa with the re­leas­ing of bal­loons sig­ni­fy­ing the launch.

Photo: Na­canieli Tuile­vuka

School stu­dents help launch the free wi-fi hotspot in Labasa, Vanua Levu on Oc­to­ber 13, 2018.

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