Starlink services in Fiji is a game changer, empowering remote, maritime and under-served communities - Kamikamica

Starlink services in Fiji is a game changer, empowering remote, maritime and under-served communities - Kamikamica

By Mansi Chand
Wednesday 22/05/2024
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica.

Starlink commencing its services in Fiji marks a significant milestone as the highly anticipated technology is a game changer, particularly in empowering remote, maritime and underserved communities.

This was highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica while delivering his ministerial speech in Parliament, where he also said that this demonstrates the confidence of global companies in Fiji.

The Deputy Prime Minister says the Google extension of sea cables connection in Fiji and the region are strategic engagements and development that tangibly contributes to the coalition government’s goal to diversify the economy, rebuild Fiji’s architecture, progressing into a more developing economy and cementing Fiji as the hub of Pacific.

He says Starlink was issued a Spectrum License by the Ministry of Communications and a Telecommunication License by the Telecommunications Authority of Fiji in November last year.

Kamikamica says following this, Starlink was then to carry out necessary compliance, procedures and arrangements to be operational in Fiji.

He says the use of satellite technology is not new as the service providers have been employing the use of satellite technology through partnership with OneWeb and others to progressively connect the unconnected rural communities but what is new is that people can now directly use the services of a satellite provider.

The Deputy Prime Minister says LEO an acronym for a category of satellites known as Low Earth Orbiting Satellites that fly closer to the earth compared to others has high-speed internet advantage and it is quite significant to Fiji’s context.

He is also encouraging local telecommunications operators to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Starlink in Fiji.

Kamikamica says however this is not a solution to the challenges of providing meaningful connection to the people.

He also says that Google has announced that it will deliver two new intra Pacific cables, named Bulikula and Halaihai in collaboration with Amalagamated Telecom Holdings, APTelecom and Telstra to increase digital connectivity.

While supporting the Starlink service in Fiji, FijiFirst MP Faiyaz Koya says through internet connectivity, there are also risks associated such as cyber attacks and illegal/dark space which will be very vulnerable for some people.

Koya says that he hopes that the Ministry will provide some subsidy to the people in the rural areas for the services provided by Starlink.

He further says Telecommunications Authority of Fiji is a regulator and that is something the Attorney General should look into in terms of laws that need to be put into place to be able to protect the citizens.

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