Description/achievement of initiative
This project aims to achieve low cost, reliable, diverse satellite communications capacity for the socio-economic development of the Pacific Islands region utilizing un-used satellite capacity. To get the best return on investment, the same telecommunications/ICT infrastructure/resources will be used for emergency telecommunications to ensure public safety when disasters strike.The telecommunication infrastructure is generally regarded as one of the fundamental factors for economic development, but in the Pacific environment this is more than that. Telecommunication infrastructure is considered to be a lifeline for the scattered Pacific Island nations. Therefore development of telecommunications is considered high priority by all countries in the region. The infrastructure that is currently in place in the Pacific has been established to a great extent by external aid and is heavily based on satellite systems, with limited number of satellite service providers. Therefore development of telecommunications in such an environment has been a long, complicated and costly process. At the same time the operational cost of established networks in the developing countries of the Pacific continues to be way above world average, limiting further the ability of small telecommunication operators to expand their telecommunication services. It is imperative to develop a regional strategy to address the implementation of a low cost and reliable network configuration to minimize the disruptions caused by both terrestrial and satellite failures particularly when disasters strike. Most of the islands do not have resources to deal with disasters threatening human life and basic needs for life preservation, requiring relief assistance and evacuations. Most, if not all of the island countries in the region, comprise of least developed countries, and cannot afford their own fully packaged emergency communication platforms. Regional cooperation and collective strategies to address emergency preparedness is essential to develop a disaster emergency communication networks. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop transportable communication systems which could easily be transportable and deployable on short notice in the region. This would no doubt require innovative use of technologies as well as development of procedures and protocols. In addition to the above and to be dealt with during the Phase II of the Project, due to the lack of basic Telecommunication Infrastructure there are still remote areas, which have not access to suitable communication facilities. As a result, almost half of the populated islands in the developing countries of the Pacific have no access to basic telecommunication services, and remote areas are ignored due to the difficulties and costs, and the poor return on investment afforded by such areas.
This project is of paramount importance to the countries forming the Pacific Islands. It seeks to improve connectivity with reliable communications systems that would not only contribute to socio-economic development but could also contribute to saving lives when disasters strike. As terrestrial networks are easily disrupted by disasters owing to their vulnerability, satellite communications becomes the system of choice in such circumstances. Each partner will provide their commitment to ITU. ITU having the experience in project management on all information and communication technology projects will take the lead. ITU will utilize the commitment from partners be it cash or in-kind and reports periodically to the partners as well as beneficiary countries.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
The arrangement for capacity building will be cross cutting taking into account the objectives of the project as follows:201 To understand the present situation of satellite usage in the Pacific Island countries and availability of un-used satellite capacity;2.2) To develop strategies and identify best options for rural/remote communication development in the Pacific region utilizing un-used satellite capacities available;2.3) To develop low-cost, reliable, and diverse satellite capacity for the Pacific Islands region;2.4) To integrate emergency communications into the established community e-centres and/or develop a deployable emergency communications system to be transportable and easily deployable for disaster management and relief activities to any concerned country in the Pacific Islands region;2.5) Collect and develop a bundled software packages including, but not limited to: Operating System; Office applications; Multi-media (e.g. audio, photo, video) editors and managers; Content Management System for development of personal and/or community portals; Applications for community radio; Security software;2.6) Provide available and useful ICT applications (both mobile- and computer-based) for health, education and agriculture sectors;2.7) To develop a network management system (NMS);2.8) To build/enhance human capacity for local communities and individuals by organizing training-of-trainers as well as user training in the context of an outreach programme.Since there will be no incubators in projects planned by this partnership, there is unlikely to be any technology transfer taking into account the true meaning of the term. However, regional training on satellite operation and maintenance will be conducted twice a year to ensure that local people acquire new skills that updated throughout the life of the project. Further, training on basic use of computer applications and the Internet will be conducted in schools and local community to empower them and gain new knowledge to take part in e-education, e and m-health, communicating to families in other towns and overseas, environment and agricultural information. More importantly, local people will use the e-center as a marketing tool for tourism and local products.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
The ITU is the lead partner in this partnership and the implementation agency. Each partner brings in a contribution to the partnership whether it is cash or in-kind. The ITU has experience in project manager and will provide seed funding for projects. Development meetings will be conducted monthly. Every quarter, ITU provides details reports to the partners.
INTELSAT SATELLITE LLC, INMARSAT, KACIFIC BROADBAND SATELLITES PTE LTD, AND INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION SATELLITE ORGANISATION