This Fifth Universal Access Policy (UAP) Update Report provides an update to stakeholders on the progress made in Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator's (TRBR) implementation of the Government’s UAP up to June 2016. It builds on TRBR’s Fourth UAP Update Report of 5 December 2015. The Report highlights the significant progress that has been made in respect of UAP implementation and, particularly, to building on to the secured industry commitment and cooperation in meeting the UAP requirements and objectives, to bring benefit to the people of Vanuatu – as per the intention of the UAP, as well as the economy of Vanuatu.
TRBR recognizes and acknowledges the commitment of the Players and industry at large for the achievements presented through this Report. It also recognizes the valuable assistance, cooperation and support from the Australian Government through its Governance for Growth Program, which has significantly contributed, through financial support, to the deployment of telecommunications access into remote and underserved areas of Vanuatu particularly on Computer Lab and Internet Community Centres (CLICC) programs. The significant milestones achieved over the last six months by the industry and the stimulus arrangements funded from the UAP Fund, have enabled TRBR to make some very important additional and progressive steps towards meeting the UAP objectives.
This Fourth Universal Access Policy (UAP) Update Report is intended to update stakeholders on the progress made in Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator's (TRBR) implementation of the Government’s UAP up to December 2015. It builds on the TRBR’s Third UAP Update Report of July 2015.
TRBR recognizes and acknowledges the commitment of the Players and industry at large for the achievements presented through this Report. The significant milestones achieved over the last six months by the industry have enabled TRBR, and the Government, to make some very important additional and progressive steps towards meeting the UAP objectives.
TRBR has taken a considerable proactive and guiding approach to the implementation of the UAP through the upgrading and rollout of new services, and the provisioning and deployment of equipment and materials for the UAP ICT School and internet community centre programs.
TRBR is pleased to confirm that, based on the latest and current UAP deployment plans of the Players and TRBR’s estimated existing mobile coverage, the population coverage rollout that is now expected to reach, and should potentially exceed, the overall UAP target of 98%. TRBR will commence a mobile coverage audit of the current coverage early next year to establish the current base coverage from which we will be able to determine the actual new coverage provided by the UAP Undertaking rollout.
A formal launch of the UAP ICT School and internet community centre program was undertaken on the 27th November 2015 by the Minister for Education and Training at Sarakata Centre School Luganville. The first ICS, iTuani Informesen & Communikesen Senta in Avunamalai Village Malo Island was also opened on the 30th November 2015.
TRBR remains committed to its methodology and approach to achieving the UAP objectives by working cooperatively and constructively with the operators, stakeholders and other relevant parties, and will continue to keep the Government fully informed of all developments.
TRBR will develop regular UAP Update Reports at similar intervals to keep stakeholders fully aware of Key UAP developments and progress.
Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR) is pleased to inform its stakeholders, through this Third Report, of the significant progress made since TRBR’s Second UAP Update Report of 5 December, 2014. This Report also provides stakeholders and the public at large with awareness of TRBR’s consultation and engagement with the telecom industry, consumers and communities, and other stakeholders in the implementation of the Government’s Universal Access Policy (UAP).
TRBR gratefully acknowledges the commitment of industry in particular, Telecom Vanuatu Ltd, Digicel Vanuatu Ltd and Telsat Broadband Ltd (“the Players”) for the achievements detailed in this Report. There were significant milestones achieved over the last six months and they have placed TRBR another step further towards meeting the Government’s UAP objectives.
The key outcome achieved since its Second Report is TRBR’s effective and active negotiation and, now, formalizing of arrangements with the Players’ through signed Undertaking Agreements that establishes the Players’ commitment to build and roll out telecommunications services in accordance with the UAP to areas that have been identified by TRBR as the UAP sites.
The rollout plans include building and extending networks to remote areas of Vanuatu, which will impact positively on and stimulate Government services and businesses; particularly in education, health, tourism and agriculture across the islands. They also include the upgrade of existing mobile services to 3G+ services, or equivalent technology, that can deliver internet broadband speeds specified under the UAP.
Importantly, TRBR is pleased to inform stakeholders that the Government’s innovative UAP and leading approach has resulted in a successful rollout, based on the latest and current UAP deployment plans of the Players and TRBR’s estimated existing mobile coverage, of a population coverage rollout that is now expected to reach, and may potentially exceed, the overall UAP target of 98%.
TRBR has taken an active role in the process of the UAP implementation by developing a procurement plan which details the technical and administrative requirements for procurement of all relevant equipment, materials and services required to deliver the CLICC and TFS Programs. TRBR took such considerations into account in awarding the provisioning and deployment, and support of equipment and materials contracts, to the recommended potential bidders.
In meeting the specific requirements of the three UAP school ICT programs, TRBR has developed 12 separate tenders and selected the 12 winning bidders. On their successful selection, TRBR proceeded to secure their commitment through a negotiated contractual agreement in light of their winning bid for the provision of goods and services, under the respective UAP programs.
The Ministry of Education, recognizing the significant beneficial impact of the UAP programs on schools and the learning capacity of children in the ‘unconnected environments’ and UAP targeted areas where access to power and internet is limited or unavailable, handed over 20 sets of Aptus Device to TRBR. These devices can host large number of learning materials that can be accessed by multiple learners in places where no Internet is available.
TRBR remains committed to its methodology and approach to achieving the UAP objectives by working cooperatively and constructively with the operators, stakeholders and all relevant parties.
TRBR will continue to provide regular UAP Update Reports on UAP implementation. The next Update Report will follow the next scheduled report of the 7th of December 2015 to the Minister.
Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR), as the Universal Access Policy (UAP) implementing agency appointed by the Government, is pleased to provide to all Stakeholders its first public Report in respect of the implementation of the UAP which was approved by the Council of Ministers (COM), in November 2013.
This Report contains an update on developments to date with implementation of the UAP since its approval last year. TRBR has provided two In-Confidence Reports to the Minister and recognizes the need to keep all stakeholders updated and fully aware of the key UAP developments and progress; hence this first update Report has been developed.
TRBR is pleased to report that significant progress has been made in respect of UAP implementation and to securing industry commitment and cooperation in meeting the UAP requirements and objectives. This has not been without some setbacks to balance the progress made and pockets of industry criticism; of both the UAP and TRR’s potential implementation interpretations. However, there is wide overall support for the UAP from the three major operators: Digicel, TVL and Telsat, as well as business, consumers, stakeholders, and the industry at large.
The identified ‘Players’ that have committed to rolling out new services in accordance with the Government’s UAP: Digicel, TVL and Telsat, have submitted plans for rolling out new sites and extending their existing network. TRBR views this willing commitment, from a national policy perspective, as very encouraging and indicative of the immediate success of the Government’s UAP; with many millions of USD committed by industry through cooperative and voluntary means.
Those that are not ‘Players’ must pay a levy to reflect equity, fairness and an “all licensees to assist” approach to ensure they provide maximum support to the ‘Players’.
The Second UAP Stakeholder’s Update Report of 17 December 2014 provides an update to stakeholders on the progress with implementation of the Government’s UAP since Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator's (TRBR) First UAP Stakeholder’s Update Report (the First Report) on 31st July 2014.
Through this Update Report, TRBR outlines the progress made and assistance provided by its stakeholders; particularly licensees, in implementing the Government’s UAP.
TRBR is pleased to inform stakeholders that there has been significant progress made in respect of UAP implementation since the First Report. Major progress includes our decision on the UAP Broadband Internet Speeds through a determination by TRBR, finalizing rollout plans with industry ‘Players’, and the Grant Review Committee’s (GRC’s) selection of the first 22 UAP Grant Awardees.
On the 12th of November, TRBR released a Determination paper, following various consultations with industry and the service providers, Government and the Public at large, in determining the provision of UAP Internet Broadband minimum speeds of 2Mbps upload rate and 1Mbps download; which must be achievable 98 percent of the time.
In encouraging the participation and involvement of all licensed telecommunication service providers in the implementation of all UAP activities and priorities before 1 January 2018, TRR has reached agreement with TELSAT for it to become the third participating service provider, ‘Player’, additional to Digicel and TVL, in implementing the UAP deliverables.
TRBR is encouraged by the commitment of the ‘Players’ in engaging effectively with TRBR in negotiating the best locations for their rollout plans to achieve the maximum possible effective coverage of the current identified unserved sites around the country. TRBR will finalize the negotiations through legal arrangements with the ‘Players’ in early 2015, but we are now closing in on the 98% of population target.
The first recipients of UAP Fund under the 3 UAP programs were announced by TRBR in early October. The announcement was made following a 3-phase rigorous process of screening of over 300 applications. Preliminary site visits to the selected schools have been conducted and completed through the month of November, and they were followed by issuing of procurement notices for goods and services towards these programs.
The three UAP programs provide a framework that demonstrates Vanuatu’s position in leading the Pacific in telecommunication service and internet provision, and policy direction. They also fully support and integrate with the UAP and the commitment of ‘Players’ in facilitating and driving service take-up in conjunction with their rollouts.
TRBR has committed to work collaboratively with the industry and other relevant stakeholders in the implementation of all three UAP programs, and will honor that commitment.
TRBR will continue to develop regular Update Reports at similar timeframes as the Report it provides to the Minister, to keep the stakeholders fully aware of key UAP developments and progress. The next Update Report will follow the next scheduled report of the 6th of June 2015 to the Minister.