In terms of Internet access, Papua New Guinea has traditionally lagged other nations in terms of access and penetration, according to Research and Markets.
However, over the past few years PNG has experienced positive GDP growth and the government is currently introducing its national strategy, Vision 2050. It is hoped that this will further address long-term infrastructure requirements, improve general living conditions, and maintain economic stability. Papua New Guinea is also being guided by its medium-term plan, The Papua New Guinea Development Strategic Plan.
Network deployment costs are high in PNG due to the relatively low subscriber base, the impervious terrain, and the high proportion of the population living in rural areas. As a result, fixed telecom infrastructure is almost non-existent outside urban centres, leaving most of the population un-serviced. The World Bank is assisting PNG with funding to build mobile infrastructure in remote and rural areas.
The existing submarine cable infrastructure is also no longer adequate and Internet services are expensive and slow. Internet access is expected to improve however with the 2018 build-out of a new submarine cable known as the Coral Sea Cable System which will link PNG to the Solomon Islands, with a connecting cable to the Australian (Sydney) landing station. It will provide increased capacity and reliability as well reduce Internet costs for consumers.
Towards the end of 2017, regulator ICCC (Independent Consumer and Competition Commission) granted approval for a merger between Bmobile and Citifon (Telikom PNG) to form Kumul Telecom. In May 2018, the ICCC cleared DataCo joining the Kumul Telecom consortium as well.