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    $25,000,000 for Connecting Homes & Public Services to Fiber Optic Discussed in FSM Digital Information Communication Technology Forum

    FSM Information Services

    Press Release

    $25,000,000 for Connecting Homes & Public Services to Fiber Optic Discussed in FSM Digital Information Communication Technology Forum

    PALIKIR, Pohnpei—From June 6th to June 7th, 2019, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Digital ICT Forum was held in the Government of Pohnpei State’s Conference Room. The key goal for the FSM Digital ICT Forum was to construct ongoing and mutually beneficial dialogues between the FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMT Cable Corp), FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC), the FSM Telecommunication Regulation Authority (TRA), the World Bank, and National and State Government stakeholders in the FSM’s digital advancement.

    In his official opening remarks His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, first re-emphasized his role as a public servant—and asked that attending parties consider, and work towards, the interests and wellbeing of the public.

    “Shortly after I became President, I learned that some within the Office of the President call the walk between the [the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch] the ‘Longest Yard’,” the President said, referring to how perceived distance in viewpoints can work against the public good. “[Which is why] the first letter I sent in my capacity as President was to the Honorable Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the Congress of the FSM, to invite Members on the trip to Washington, D.C…I promised Congress that we’d keep the relationship between [the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch] close...united as family.”

    “My hope,” President Panuelo continued, “is to look at all of you working together as one… We need to make full utilization of this technology.”

    President Panuelo explained how the democratization of information access necessarily leads to the democratization of knowledge itself, which can be essential in areas such as promoting national unity (such as through national news and presidential addresses), video conferencing and digital patient files in the health sector, enhanced teaching materials to augment in-classroom learning, the promotion of tangible exports (e.g. marketing taro flour), and the development and exportation of digital products and services.

    The FSM is presently the least connected country in the Pacific, with only 21 per 100 citizens subscribing to a mobile telephone service, and 52% of the population unconnected to digital communication technology. However, 1.8% of the FSM’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—a means of measuring the health, size, and scope of an economy—is in the telecommunications sector, well beyond that of many developing nations (e.g. the telecommunications sector in the African continent represents 1.1% of GDP), and demonstrates the FSM’s commitment to democratizing access to digital services.

    In 2012 the FSM published its Information Communication Technology Policy, which was followed by the 2014 Telecommunications Act.  In July 2018 and May 2019 respectively, the Yap State and Chuuk State fiber optic connections were completed. Approximately $25,000,000 is presently available for developing fiber optic connections to homes, schools, and hospitals throughout the FSM. It’s expected that Kosrae State will receive a fiber optic cable connection by late 2021 via the East Micronesia Cable System.

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