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2019

The GSM Association (GSMA) launched The Mobile Economy Pacific Islands 2019 report at the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) 23rd AGM and annual conference which underscores the potential of mobile technology in the Pacific region. GSMA provided that Pacific Islands are on the verge of a digital revolution which would be espoused by the cooperation between the government and the mobile ecosystem. “This is an exciting time for the Pacific Islands as it stands on the cusp of a digital revolution and mobile technology will play a pivotal role in this transformation, providing access to life-enhancing services such as health and education and acting as a catalyst for innovation and economic growth,” noted GSMA Director General Mats Granryd. The report highlights how financial inclusion was improved since 2008 through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and how the launch of 4G connections in 2018 would boost mobile broadband and hence digital transformation. Yet, there are some infrastructure challenges in many countries, such as insufficient infrastructure, switchover process, and scarcity of international internet bandwidth. Finally, the report provides that for Pacific Islands to unlock the full potential of mobile, they need to improve digital divide, enhance access to sufficient spectrum for better coverage and capacity, and provide affordable and high-quality mobile services. 

US web behemoth Amazon has revealed plans to launch a constellation of over 3,000 low- orbit satellites in order to boost broadband connectivity in remote locations globally and to provide low-latency, high-speed access to communities that are unserved or underserved.

According to the Mobile Economy Report 2019, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have seen a significant growth in mobile content in Swahili. The number of mobile apps in the language increased from around 5,000 in 2014 to almost 30,000 by 2017. This translates to mean that more people are able to access useful services on mobile because it is in the language they can read and understand.
Kenya alone saw a 16% growth in mobile internet adoption from 2014 to 2017 with over 4 million new users. According to the report, apart from the Swahili content factor, the growth was also supported by good performance in two enablers: infrastructure and affordability.

Brunei's Minister of Transport and Information Communications, Abdul Mutalib announced the establishment of a National Cybersecurity Centre that will help monitor and co-ordinate response to cyber-threats. Brunei is working on its government strategy to use technology for economic gain and prosperity. Mutalib commented on the creation of the Unified National Network that would consolidate the network infrastructure of all existing telecommunication operators in the country in order to guarantee broadband access for all consumers.

 

A study made by the Alliance for Accountable Internet (A4AI) based on the newly released Mobile Broadband Pricing data for Q4 2018 has shown that the average price of a gigabyte (GB) of data in relation to income increased over the past year (2018) for low-income countries. This new trend worsens the situation considering that low-income countries already face the least affordable mobile broadband prices in the world. The implication of this is that the already-wide digital gap deepens further and act as a barrier to greater socio-economic equality

The government of Canada has allocated in its 2019 budgetan amount of $ 1.7 billion Canadian Dollars to be invested over 13 years in High-speed Internet provide all Canadians access to high-speed internet. The goal is to ensure that the bandwidth gap between rural and urban communities is completely bridged by the year 2030.

The allocation in the 2019 Budget which was announced on 19 March will enhance the Connect to Innovate programmewhich was launched in 2016 to enhance broadband in remote areas of Canada. The budget is proposing a new and coordinated plan that will see further investments within a period of 10 years by which time the minimum speeds of 50/10 Mbps will be achieved for all citizens irrespective of where they live in Canada.

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