Thursday, 27 August 2009 9:35 AM

Telecommunications Market Opened to Competition, Bill Passed

Parliament has passed the Telecommunications Bill 2009 bringing an end the dominance of Our Telekom in the local telecommunications market.

The bill sought to open up the telecommunication industry in the country to competition. Under the Bill, the provision of mobile services will be opened to competition in April 2010 while Internet Service will be opened to competition in April 2011.

In his contribution to the debate Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua, has said the government gave in to a demand by Solomon Telekom for the sole communication license for 15 years, in or about 2002.

Dr Sikua says the monopoly license locked the government into accepting a monopoly in the telecommunication sector.

He said the license also locked Solomon Islands consumers into a very high cost telephone and Internet services, because they have no choice.

Dr Sikua said despite huge profits being earned by the company, services continued to drop.

"We have heard huge profits declared year in, year out and yet, year in, year out, the quality, reliability and affordability of Solomon Telekom Limited services continue to decline and deteriorate."

Prime Minister Dr Sikua said a reform in the telecommunication sector is important and shows that the government is serious about improving telecommunication and allow competition in the country.



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