31 Mar 2006

NZ minister says telecoms deregulation needed in Pacific to get funding

3:13 pm on 31 March 2006

The Pacific's plans to develop sophisticated telecommunications stand to receive significant backing from aid donors if the regulatory framework is liberalised.

Communications Ministers have this week issued the Wellington Declaration which outlines how the region can work together to bridge the digital divide.

The Pacific Islands Forum says making the most of information and communication technology, or ICT, will require an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars over the next ten years.

New Zealand's Communication Minister, David Cunliffe, who chaired this week's meeting in Wellington, says if regulatory barriers including those allowing state monopolies are ended, then he is confident the money will come.

"It will come from a range of donors and I imagine that there will be a wave of private sector investment too if we are able to liberalise some of these regimes. I am not going to mention names but we have had some reasonably solid indications of support from major multi-lateral donors if the policy reform is in the right direction."