Bridging Digital Divides is the focus of the Regional Radio-Communication Seminar (R.R.C.S.) for Asia and the Pacific held at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Building.
More than sixty participants from around the Asia Pacific region are discussing several topics including spectrum management and regulations, universal broadband service and other technological challenges.
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i said the meeting is critical for the region.
He said it is clear the Pacific region is lagging behind in the digital age and it is not acceptable.
This is why such meetings are important.
For Samoa, the Minister said the government has already started working towards addressing the problem through several initiatives.
Those initiatives include the migration from analog to digital TV expected to be finished by 2017 and a new submarine cable in the pipeline that will greatly increase internet and data accessibility.
“This seminar is very important as it brings together the major regional stakeholders to prepare the future key spectrum management decisions about the adoption and deployment of these technologies,” said the Minister.
“In addition this will be an opportunity for our regional stakeholders to network with each other and build relationships that will be crucial to our region achieving its digital goals.”
Regulator, Unutoa Auelua Fonoti said the meeting is the first of its kind to be held in Samoa.
Other regions like Europe and Caribbean are also hosting similar seminars.
Unutoa said the gathering is an opportunity for radio stations in the country to learn and share their experience with other participants.
It is also a platform to advocate for government’s push for digital television by 2017.
One of the problems for the digital initiative is the expensive cost of T.V.
According to Unutoa it will take some time for the people to adjust to the new change and every change comes with costs.
An option she suggested is for users to continue to use their analogue T.V. and buying a set up box device to hook on their T.V. which is cheaper.
Participants will be engaged in training providing hands-on experience of I.T.U notification procedures and other technical tools. They will also learn about best practices regarding spectrum management and the current regulatory framework for international frequency management.
The seminar continues today with participants discussing terrestrial services.