The government is soon to rollout satellite broadband internet access to rural centres in Solomon Islands to improve government service delivery in remote areas of the country.

Together with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) the government will use Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System (PacRICs) to provide internet access to over 20 hospitals and schools in the country.

Internet connection will be shared by the health centre or hospital, police station, provincial government office, agriculture office and the National Disaster Management Office. It will also be available to the private sector.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr Lester Ross said the PacRICS will help connect medical staff in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands and health workers in the field.

SPC's PacRICS Coordinator Ian Thomson said the health workers in rural areas could now be better trained online, report quickly on outbreaks such as malaria and consult with local and international experts.

The project will also enable students to access a digital library or information database for their studies.

SPC's Director General Dr Jimmy Rodgers said SPC is working towards rolling out the Rural Internet Connectivity System at the first 17 sites within the next six months. Twenty one rural centres are set to be operational in two months.
Rodgers said the project equipment amounts to US$ 280,000.

"Government sectors will work together with various types of resource constraints which each ministry will set and hopefully provide more service to the people." he said in an official statement.

The project is supported by the Global Fund, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme and five ministries- Education, Health and Medical Services, Provincial Government, National Disaster Management Office and the Police.

The SPC and UNDP will hand over the PacRICs to the government after two years.
During the two-year period, all operators from the five ministries will undergo training to develop the skills of ministry staff on using internet for e-government.

SPC will also work with the government to develop business cases and budgets for each department to continue internet services for the rural communities.