2019 is the 10th anniversary of the legislation which created the Telecommunications Commission and gave it national responsibility for administering the telecommunications services sector, independently of the Government.
In accordance with the review provisions in the pdf Telecommunications Act 2009 (627 KB) , this will be a time to reflect on what impact the act has had, and to begin consideration of what details, if any, need adjusting for the future. The main aspects of the legislation’s performance as at the end of 2018, are noted in the body of the year’s annual report.
For the Commission, the most noteworthy feature of the regime thus far is that the significant improvements in the country’s communications over the last decade have been entirely driven by private sector competition. The most prominent investments have come through the major providers, Our Telekom, Bmobile-Vodafone and Satsol. Their commitment of capital and the resultant growth of the telecommunications market since 2009 is a vindication of Parliament’s termination of public service oversight of the sector, and ministerial involvement in the commercial aspects of telecommunications.
The success of this liberalisation policy in Solomon Islands, has been noted worldwide especially by international agencies and those development countries where public sector controlled telecommunications continues to be plagued by poor investment decisions, corruption and systematic maladministration.
In Solomon Islands, the Government still has international telecommunications policy functions of course and the 2018 milestones are noted in the year’s annual report. In addition, as the result of the Australian Government’s generous financial support, the Government will soon have an in direct ownership role in relation to the Coral Sea submarine cable coming on stream at the end of 2019.
Most important of all, it is the Government which is responsible for the National ICT Policy, a bundle of proposed new measures and amendments to existing laws, policies and institutional arrangements, which are vital to the country’s effective participation in the global economy in the internet era. The Policy, prepared by experts after a public consultation, and first tabled with Ministers in mid-2015, and formally adopted by Cabinet in 2017, remains substantially unimplemented however.