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Digicel and Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme tackling Digital Divide

Digicel and Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme tackling Digital Divide

The Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme (PNGSDP) has partnered with Digicel to execute a new telecommunications vision to benefit present and future generations in the country’s Western Province.

The PNGSDP is a fund that was established as a result of the ecological damage to the Western Province by the OK Tedi Mine, and is used for special projects in the area to meet the development needs of the citizens. The area has long been neglected, primarily due to the sparse population. However, in 2011 Digicel and PNGSDP worked together to deploy 49 telecommunications towers, and this contract will see Digicel upgrading the towers, expanding coverage, deploying LTE and offering managed services.

This agreement between PNGSDP and Digicel means the Western Province will benefit from 19 new telecommunications towers that will be owned by PNGSDP, new power generation units and LTE on 78 towers owned by Digicel and a seven-year managed service agreement to deliver operations and maintenance of the telecommunications services including internet bandwidth.

“This is a great partnership between Digicel and PNGSDP because not only will we be able to provide increased access to services in the Western Province, but PNGSDP has also engaged with Digicel PNG Foundation to deploy schools to facilitate digital learning. In this way, we are bridging the gap to create a word where no one gets left behind,” said Digicel Group CEO, Alexander Matuschka.

The World Bank 2016 World Development Report shows a positive correlation between the increase in internet penetration and the gross domestic product in developing countries. In PNG, the entire Western Province will soon have access to reliable 4G phone and internet service, creating a knowledge network with app-driven learning, a foundation to deliver remote health solutions using LTE, and increased coverage for existing mobile services.

Matuschka added: “In the education sector, distance learning in the more remote communities can be supported, teacher capabilities can be improved and classrooms can have better tools and access to world-class education. In the health sector, village-based and mobile paramedics can receive long-distance technical support with diagnostics, access to patient records and online advice. And in the business sector, with better connectivity, online financial services become available resulting in better opportunities for the banked and unbanked populations.”

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