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Digital Pacific

21 Nov 2012 16:36

Led by bloggers, digital entrepreneurs and social media groups in Papua New Guinea, a Pacific 'digital generation' is emerging that is increasingly influencing public debates, forming policy ideas, holding institutions accountable and coordinating political protests. The potential size and influence of the Pacific's emerging 'digital generation' is enhanced by the fact that more than 50% of the regional population is estimated to be below the age of 24.

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis research paper launched today, Digital Islands: How the Pacific's ICT Revolution is Transforming the Region, I outline how the Pacific Islands region is in the midst of an information and communication technology (ICT) revolution that could have profound implications for the region's governance and development.


22 Nov 2012 14:55

Gerard McCarthy is Project Manager (Asia-Pacific) at TechChange, based in Sydney. Keera Pullman is based in Darwin where she works for Esri Australia and volunteers for the Standby Taskforce.

The past decade has seen rapid increases in urban dwellers across the Pacific. Recent analyses of this region-wide human movement by a World Bank panel showed that the absence of reliable health and education services in rural areas, the concentration of industry and jobs in cities, and the proliferation of mobile phones which permit daily contact with rural friends and families, are prompting many across the Pacific to board buses, trucks and motorbikes in search of better lives in cities.



26 Nov 2012 13:58

Olivia Wilson is a geoscientist and mapping specialist.

I've been following with interest the discussions around Danielle Cave's paper and blog post about the impact of information and communications technology on the Pacific island region. With the boom in mobile phone use, I would like to raise some current ideas about how this connectivity can be harnessed to help with disaster rescue efforts.

Natural disasters often occur with little or no warning and so coordinating a response can be extremely difficult. Pacific Island countries know this all too well, as the region is one of the most disaster-prone in the world.


27 Nov 2012 10:11

Danielle Cave's recent paper on the uptake of information and communications technology (ICT) in our region consolidates a range of information about what is happening in Pacific island countries and reveals key questions yet to be considered or resolved.

In general, the position Danielle puts forward is one with which I agree. However, there are a few areas that give me some concern.

The first is the use of 'deregulation' in regard to market reforms in the early 2000s. What actually happened was that markets were liberalised (governments were persuaded to give up their shares in telco monopolies and legislation passed to facilitate new entrants into the markets) and subsequently regulated (ie. through the creation of telecommunications regulatory authorities, which had not existed previously).


28 Nov 2012 09:26

Thanks to Dr Tess Newton Cain for giving me an opportunity to delve into a few details of my recent research paper Digital Islands.

Firstly and briefly, in distinguishing between telecommunications 'liberalisation' and 'deregulation' in the Pacific Islands region, I don't want to get caught up in a niche debate on terminology, but in order to liberalise and open up markets, you must first deregulate them and implement certain reforms to create an environment for competition. I think both are apt descriptions of what has occurred in many countries across the region, so let's delve into the more interesting points of Dr Newton Cain's post.


30 Nov 2012 12:22

Could mobile telephony be harnessed for development in Papua New Guinea?

As Danielle Cave has pointed out, mobile phone uptake has increased rapidly throughout the Pacific in very recent years. In PNG, mobile phone coverage has extended greatly since the introduction of competition into the sector in mid-2007. To this day, landline phone service is essentially limited to urban centres. Despite urbanisation, a huge percentage of PNG people live in rural areas. Thus, the mobile phone is for many the only available modern communication tool. While affordability has remained a challenge, the tool has been embraced as people enjoy the benefit of being able to contact relatives living away from the home village.


3 Dec 2012 10:20

Douveri Henao is from the Institute of National Affairs, Papua New Guinea.

I have been following with interest the debate on this blog about the Pacific's digital future. In her new paper, Danielle Cave analyses PNG's Facebook discussion group Sharp Talk. I wanted to join this blog discussion and give readers background on how I started Sharp Talk. 

Sharp Talk was developed largely due to my personal frustration about the lack of information and dialogue on topical issues concerning Papua New Guinea. This is largely due to limited access to information, which is generally held in hubs of academia, research institutions and the mainstream media, where the privileged were able to hear learned commentators talk on issues of national interest and generate views on these matters.


4 Dec 2012 10:15

Stephanie Lusby is a PhD Candidate at ANU. Her research focuses on how public health messages are translated and applied by men in Papua New Guinea.

The two papers released recently by Danielle Cave and Sarah Logan are part of a growing body of work on information and communications technology in the Pacific. I'd like to offer some comments on mobile and internet use, using examples gathered during my work as an electoral observer in East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea during the 2012 national elections.