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East Sepik IGIS Link

Government links East Sepik province with video conferencing network

The people of Wewak in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea received a special independence gift from the government following the connection of their province with video conferencing facility on September last year 2014.

It is now connected with the government's Integrated Government Information System-IGIS Net via video conferencing.

IGIS is a government funded information and communication technology project aimed at connecting all agencies of government and to cut down on internet and other ICT related costs.

It now brings to four out of five, apart from Kokopo in the East New Britain, provinces to be linked with IGIS Net. They are East and West Sepik, Eastern Highlands and West New Britain.

The Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Hon Jimmy Miringtoro witnessed the launch via the video conferencing facility located within the Department of Communication and Information's office in Port Moresby.

From Wewak the Governor of East Sepik and the country's founding father Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare launched it and spoke via video conferencing for the first time from his Wewak office, witnessed by his Provincial administration staff.

Sir Michael, whose government had initiated the idea of connecting all government departments and agencies including the provinces during his reign, was impressed with the latest video conferencing technology.

This means if and when public servants in Wewak want to relay important messages and or do government work, they can connect via the National Data Centre or agencies in Waigani who are connected with video conferencing facilities through the government's IGIS Net.

The launch was done on Monday 15th September a day before PNG celebrated its 39th Independence anniversary on Tuesday 16th September 2014.

After the launch the Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Hon Jimmy Miringtoro said the plan to have government departments and agencies connected through the IGIS Net has been successfully achieved.

He said that East and West Sepik, Eastern Highlands and West New Britain provinces has been completed with, only one Kokopo in the East New Britain yet to be connected due to relocation issues within the provincial administration office.

Minister Miringtoro said connectivity to these provinces was not done earlier with the National Data Centre located within the Telikom Rumana building in Waigani due to non-availability of fibre optic cables.

He said the project developer and contractor Huawei Technologies of China had to use microwave technology to link East and West Sepik provinces.
"I was really happy and impressed to have witnessed Wewak being linked via the video conferencing facility with IGIS Net and we are now set and ready to go into Stage 2 after one hundred per cent completion of Stage 1, which involves connecting all the provinces and districts of the country".

Minister Miringtoro said IGIS in the long run IGIS will include e-government application in agriculture, health and education and others like the National e-ID project currently under way to issue citizens identification cards.

"For the O'Neill-Dion government, this is a real achievement in the information and communication technology-ICT area, which is a very important government project".

He said IGIS will save money as the government currently spends an estimated K160 million annually on internet, but as and when departments ride on IGIS Net, it will reduce the cost by about K120 million and IGIS will sustain itself.
Minister Jimmy Miringtoro has called on government agencies to link up with IGIS.

"I am appealing to all government departments and agencies to have confidence in the IGIS Net system and start to migrate to IGIS because the aim is to reduce costs and save money paid to Internet Service Providers-ISPs", said Minister Miringtoro.

He said that the government now has an intricate system, which is the main super highway for government communication and information that was designed and installed by Huwaei Technologies of China.

"We are settled and are ready to roll out Phase 2 after the nitty-gritties of Phase One is completed to connect the rest of the provinces and districts, but funding is a very critical issue, which we will take it up to the government where it should come from", the Minister said.

IGIS Net which was funded by a concessional loan of over US$53 million from the EXIM Bank of China was contracted out to Chinese telecommunications equipment company, Huawei Technologies who developed and installed the IGIS program software and equipment.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill launched IGIS Net on July 2014 via video conferencing from his Parliament Office.

He said during the launch that people are living in a world of ever growing and changing information and communication technologies and it is important for governments to continue to embrace emerging information and communications technologies.

The Prime Minister said that his government recognizes this need and is expanding the use of technology to engage with the people of Papua New Guinea, and to better coordinate the delivery of government services.

It is envisaged that through IGIS, government departments and agencies would be better integrated, work in a more coordinated manner, and utilize technology effectively to serve the people.
Prime Minister O'Neill said that IGIS Net will help PNG in realizing its specific targets under Vision 2050 and its cascading development plans and strategies' and would increase efficiency in public service delivery.

He was the then Treasurer in 2011 when the concessional loan was undertaken with the EXIM Bank, which not only enabled the IGIS project, but led to other projects funded through EXIM Bank.
IGIS Net compromises of the National Data Centre located in Port Moresby and it includes software and programs designed for internet, email, video and teleconferencing equipment and data for whole of the government ICT connectivity.

Phase 2 of IGIS Net is to connect all the provinces whilst Phase 3 is aimed at linking the Districts and possibly the local level governments throughout the country, but that depends on constant funding to operate, expand and maintain the entire IGIS Network.


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