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.