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Fiji Time: 6:32 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Dynamic 14pc leap

Ioane Burese
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FIJI'S performance in delivering Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services and infrastructure to its citizens has been ranked among the world's most dynamic by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

A government statement said in the ITU's annual review of more than 150 countries' delivery of ICT infrastructure and services to their populations, Fiji was the only small island developing state to be given special recognition.

The statement said Fiji tied for the third largest improvement of any country, moving up five places to 88th; in percentage terms, Fiji ranked fourth globally, improving by 14 per cent.

The ITU's annual report Measuring the Information Society attributed Fiji's success to strong growth in mobile-broadband penetration; extension of 3G coverage; the development of Fiji's — and the Pacific's — first national broadband plan; the Fijian government's commitment to making internet access affordable; and the expansion of e-government services.

The findings of the report were welcomed by Attorney-General and Communications Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who described them as a strong endorsement of the ICT reforms being undertaken by the government.

"We have adopted a holistic approach to ICT reform in Fiji by combining a national framework for ICT development with effective and pragmatic policies and initiatives to deliver results directly to the Fijian people," he said.

The Attorney-General said he expected Fiji to remain on the list of most dynamic countries and for its rank to continue to improve.

"Since this report was conducted, we have introduced a number of exciting new initiatives," he said.

He mentioned that as part of the government's Universal Access Program, network coverage — including 3G — would continue to expand to areas that have poor or no coverage.

He said the government had eliminated all duty on smartphones to make them more affordable for ordinary Fijians.

"We expect this will dramatically improve access to data services and the internet with the expansion of broadband access through mobile phones," he said.