Posted: May 30, 2013

The Bainimarama Government is conducting Fiji’s first ever auction of frequencies on the radio spectrum — the airwaves that carry mobile phone signals — beginning a process that will make super fast 4G internet access available to all Fijians.  With this new technology, and more that will follow, mobile coverage will be expanded and the internet will become more accessible and affordable.

The new 4G technology will give Fijians with compatible mobile devices high speed access to the internet – including streaming, browsing, and video calling.

Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that 4G – given the strength of its signal – will play an important role in extending mobile coverage to 100% of Fiji, up from 95% now.

“This is just another example of the Bainimarama Government’s commitment  to bridging the digital divide between the rich and the poor, and the rural and the urban. It is our firm belief that every Fijian, no matter where they live or how much the make, should have access to the many benefits that mobile phones and the internet provide,” he said.

The 4G upgrade will complement the Universal Access Program – which offers Government subsidies to companies that provide services in remote areas – to reach the goal of 100% coverage in the very near future.

“This is about empowering ordinary Fijians. It is about giving them access to information and the digital world,” he said.

The Attorney General emphasized that because spectrum is a limited resource, and that the frequencies belong to the Fijian people, it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that 4G frequencies are allocated in an accountable and transparent way.

“The auction – for 4G LTE Spectrum – will promote competition, attract foreign investors, and eliminate the kind of corruption that is seen the world over when it comes to spectrum allocation,” he said. “In Fiji, past Governments allocated frequencies on the spectrum with no rationale, planning, or vision for the future,” he added.

The auction is a highly transparent process that will be open to all interested parties, including non-telecommunications companies, to encourage the participation of more bidders, increasing competition beyond the two current mobile service providers in Fiji.  The Government’s strategy is that by increasing competition, service and affordability will improve.

The winning bidders will be required to make 4G service operational by a set deadline.  This will prevent the holding of airwaves in disuse for the purpose of speculation, profiteering or preventing competition from entering the market.

The ascending bid auction will take place from 24 June to 28 June at the office of the Department of Communications in Suva, Fiji.

SOURCE Republic of Fiji

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