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Palau is one of the Pacific’s most successful small islands for telecommunications connectivity, despite its remoteness. In 2010 it had one of the highest penetration rates for landlines, mobile phones and Internet users – statistics of which are provided in the report. Internet access is generally slow, expensive and usage is not widespread beyond the urban centre, which is similar to most of the remote Pacific Islands.
Overseas funding has increased the reach and use of telecommunications in the island with Internet access being extended in early 2010 to Sonsorol Island using VSAT equipment. A VoIP service is planned to be installed by late 2010. Other telecommunications advances described in this report include e-learning updates with the One Laptop per Child program set to roll out computers in Palau.
Most telecommunications services in the islands of Palau are provided by Palau National Communications Corporation. The telecommunication company’s infrastructure comprises digital switching and fibre optic technologies. PNCC offers a full range of telecom services, including Internet access (PalauNet), Cable TV (PNCC Digital TV) and cellular telephony (PNCC Wireless).
A second mobile company, Palau Mobile Corporation which commenced operations in 2006, has seen lower call pricing introduced in the mobile communications sector. PMC has roaming agreements with most overseas countries, while PNCC in mid-2010, only has agreements with three countries.
In 2010/11 the economy is expected to shrink as a result of the continuing effects of the global financial crisis with lower tourist numbers, a main driver of the island economy. GDP is forecast to be -3.0% in 2010.
Even though the effects of the GFC are evident, telecommunications infrastructure on the islands is being upgraded. By mid-2010 PNCC had installed a NGN softswitch which will allow VoIP and other IP-based services to be utilised. In mid-2010 it was also seeking a Request for Proposal for a GSM Inter-Operator Roaming Data Clearing House Service, the operator keen to extend the current shortfall in mobile roaming agreements compared to PMC.
Please note that this report is updated infrequently due to limited availability of information and statistics on the local telecoms market.
Internet penetration in selected South Pacific countries – 2010
|Internet penetration (e)|
|Papua New Guinea|
(Source: BuddeComm, various industry sources)