Addressing Connectivity for the Sustainable Development of SIDS
INTELSAT SATELLITE LLC, INMARSAT, KACIFIC BROADBAND SATELLITES PTE LTD, AND INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION SATELLITE ORGANISATION
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.