Progress on Pa­pua New Guinea’s na­tional broad­band net­work

Con­struc­tion of Pa­pua New Guinea’s na­tional broad­band net­work is pro­gress­ing, with ma­jor mile­stones set be reached by mid-2015, ac­cord­ing to Bemo­bile CEO Sun­dar Ra­ma­murthy, who is as­sist­ing the PNG gov­ern­ment’s In­de­pen­dent Public Busi­ness Cor­po­ra­tion on t

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Infrastructure & Transport -

Ra­ma­murthy told del­e­gates at the Pa­pua New Guinea Ad­van­tage in­vest­ment sum­mit in Septem­ber 2013 that the Na­tional Trans­mis­sion Net­work (NTN), which aims to connect ma­jor pop­u­la­tion cen­tres on PNG’S main­land via a cross-coun­try net­work of fi­bre-op­tic ca­bles, was pro­gress­ing to the time­lines agreed.

‘The aim is to cre­ate a re­li­able, high speed, trans­par­ent and low-cost back­bone net­work for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ac­cess,’ Ra­ma­murthy told del­e­gates.

A sig­nif­i­cant part of the project is the com­ple­tion of a fi­bre­op­tic link along the length of the PNG LNG gas project’s 700 km pipe­line, from the Hides gas field in the High­lands to the PNG LNG plant near Port Moresby, and then on to the cap­i­tal.

Ra­ma­murthy ad­vised that the Hides-to-lng plant link was ex­pected to be com­mis­sioned in early 2014, with the ad­di­tional 50 km to Port Moresby al­ready com­plete.

Fu­ture links

Mean­while, the link be­tween the Yonki power sta­tion in Morobe Prov­ince and Mount Ha­gen in PNG’S High­lands is ex­pected to be ready by mid-2015. Ad­di­tional ca­ble con­nect­ing Wabag and Mendi will then be com­pleted a few months af­ter this.

The fi­nal con­nec­tion be­tween Port Moresby and the PPC-1 ca­ble (which con­nects PNG to the world wide web via Guam) is ex­pected to be com­plete in late 2014. The jointly com­mis­sioned ca­ble will also al­low the Solomon Is­lands to connect to the PCC-1 in­ter­na­tional ca­ble near Alotau, giv­ing PNG’S neigh­bour a fast con­nec­tion to the world­wide web for the first time.

At that stage, the game will change for PNG, with con­nec­tions to more re­mote lo­ca­tions such the New Guinea is­lands, Alotau, We­wak, Van­imo and Daru pos­si­ble.

The NTN will also mean PNG will no longer have to rely on the APNG2 ca­ble which cur­rently con­nects Port Moresby to Syd­ney, Australia, although the IPBC is con­sid­er­ing ad­di­tional in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions to the world­wide web to en­sure the NTN has re­dun­dancy.

New data whole­saler

The com­pleted NTN will be run by PNG Dat­aco, which will whole­sale band­width to net­work li­cense hold­ers such as Dig­i­cel, Te­likom PNG and Bemo­bile, and ISPS such as Datec and Dal­tron. It will be a ‘car­rier to the car­ri­ers’—with the goal of en­cour­ag­ing greater re­tail com­pe­ti­tion and al­low­ing new en­trants (PNG cit­i­zens and SMES), while in­creas­ing band­width and re­duc­ing the cost of ac­cess for con­sumers and busi­nesses.

Ra­ma­murthy said that the cur­rent K300 to K500 (US$120 to US$200) monthly cost of ‘nor­mal fam­ily use’ of the in­ter­net in PNG was far be­yond the means of most Pa­pua New Guineans. If costs could be re­duced dramatically, there would be a tremen­dous boost to the al­ready grow­ing econ­omy of PNG.

A com­pleted NTN, he said, would en­able PNG to host call cen­tres, en­able the move­ment of large data files and foster the on­line de­liv­ery of pri­vate and public sec­tor ser­vices, in­clud­ing e-com­merce.

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