MINING provinces of New Ireland and Enga are set to have access to the very latest in information and communication technology (ICT).
This will come about as a result of a partnership between the PNG mining ministry and Antigua and Barbuda’s ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology and Digicel Group.
The memorandum of understanding signed by the three parties in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda saw the partners committing to a four year program to deliver a sustained, fully funded ICT program to the two mining provinces – with a view to building this out to further provinces over time.
The move by the PNG Ministry of Mining comes soon after it witnessed the huge success of Antigua and Barbuda’s Government Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE) whereby thousands of students in the twin island state have access to the very latest educational materials and tools through a partnership with Digicel which provides them with LTE tablets and access to Digicel’s superfast 4G LTE network.
With the PNG pilot program kicking off as early as the first quarter of 2014, the Ministry of Mining is all set to ensure that the necessary processes are in place to facilitate the program and to identify and align potential funding sources available to it. Under the terms of the partnership, Digicel will be responsible for the program implementation and management - including the provision of broadband connectivity into the provinces as well as the required mobile devices and ICT solutions.
For its part, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology will assist by sharing the learning and experience taken from its successful GATE initiative in terms of rolling out and leveraging new technologies. It has also agreed to provide 24 full training internship positions each year from the GATE facility.
Mining Minister Byron Chan said access to technology is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity and a feature of educational excellence.