Fiji’s performance in delivering information and communications technology (ICT) services and infrastructure to its citizens has been ranked among the world’s most dynamic by the International Telecommunication Union(ITU).
In the ITU’s annual review of more than 150 countries’ delivery of ICT infrastructure and services to their populations, Fiji was the only small island developing state to be given special recognition.
Fiji tied for the third largest improvement of any country, moving up five places to 88th. And in percentage terms, Fiji ranked 4th globally, improving by 14 per cent.
The ITU’s annual report – entitled Measuring the Information Society attributed Fiji’s success to strong growth in mobile-broadband penetration; extension of 3G coverage; the development of Fiji’s – and the Pacific’s – first national broadband plan; the Fijian Government’s commitment to making Internet access affordable; and the expansion of e-Government services.
The findings of the report were welcomed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who described them as a strong endorsement of the ICT reforms being undertaken by the Bainimarama Government.
“We have adopted a holistic approach to ICT reform in Fiji by combining a national framework for ICT development with effective and pragmatic policies and initiatives to deliver results directly to the Fijian people,” he said.
The Attorney-General added that he expected Fiji to remain on the list of most dynamic countries and for its rank to continue to improve.
“Since this report was conducted, we have introduced a number of exciting new initiatives,” he said.
The Attorney-General mentioned that as part of the Bainimarama Government’s Universal Access Program, network coverage – including 3G – would continue to expand to areas that currently have poor or no coverage.
“The Bainimarama Government has also eliminated all duty on smartphones to make them more affordable for ordinary Fijians. We expect this will dramatically improve access to data services and the Internet with the expansion of broadband access through mobile phones,” he said.
The Attorney-General pointed to the Bainimarama Government’s “Telecentre” initiative, which is expected to bring regular Internet access to more than 60,000 Fijians – including 5,000 schoolchildren – by the end of the year.
“Currently, we are also in the process of establishing domestic Internet exchange points (IXPs) and of bringing 4G to Fiji. With 4G, high–speed Internet access and premium data services will be available to Fijians,” the Attorney-General said.
The Attorney-General is in Spain this week to deliver a keynote address at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday.