PAPUA NEW GUINEA - PNG BUAI DIGITAL INFORMATION PROJECT
PAPUA NEW GUINEA TELECOMMUNICATION AUTHORITY (PANGTEL) www.pangtel.gov.pg
PANGTEL came into existence on the first day of January this year and there has been a demanding need for PANGTEL to grow quickly. We in PANGTEL are certainly doing this and, although we suffered from initial growing pains these are quickly fading away as we come to grips with functions and responsibilities of this new statutory authority.
Let me spend just a few minutes to tell you a little of the early history of wireless telegraphy, the forerunner of voice radio in our country, as the history books record it. The first recorded transmissions by wireless telegraphy were made by a catholic Priest names Father Shaw who held an Australian experimental wireless license - yes they even had licenses in those day! He came to our shores in March 1911 to assist in the search for a party of lost Australian officials. Although he erected the first wireless aerial on Paga Hill in Port Moresby and commenced transmissions he was unable to contact the relay station on Thursday Island (Australia) and so communication with the outside world failed at that time.
The editor of the Papua Times saw the value of wireless telegraphy and so he wrote in a June 1911 editorial these words, "Port Moresby will never become the important trading centre which it is destined to be until an efficient system of wireless telegraphy is established with Australia".
The Second World War confirmed the importance of wireless telegraphy and radio communication and so it was after the war radio communication stations were quickly erected through the country.
Prior to independence, the statutory powers held by Australia under the Wireless Telegraphy Act were transferred to the Posts and Telegraphs Department of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. A radio licensing branch was opened in Port Moresby and this is the origin of Spectrum Management (Spectrum) as we knew it up the time of the demise of the Post and Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) in December last year.
Some of you may be asking why it is necessary to have licenses? They protect the approved applicant to ensure good quality transmission and the customer gets good reception. Should an unlicensed operator commences transmission and interferes with the frequency PANGTEL has the equipment to locate those transmissions and stop the illegal operator.
All equipment used for the provision of telecommunication and radio communication services must be type approved by PANGTEL before it can be used in PNG. Type approval of equipment is performed in our laboratories and attracts a fee proportional to the complexity of the work and instrumentation required.
PANGTEL is a self-funding statutory authority therefore will not be a drain on government resources. However, this does restrict our ability to perform the present regulatory role as efficiently and timely as we would like. The issue of various types of business and spectrum licenses will be the main source of income. A business license allows the licensee to provide service to a specified area and under the conditions as stated in the license, while a spectrum licence allows the licensee to use a particular frequency in a specified area and under certain conditions.
All new installations will be inspected by the staff of PANGTEL for commissioning and all installations are subject to regular field inspections to ensure valid licenses are held and licence conditions are being compiled with. Ships registered in PNG and sailing within PNG waters are subject to annual safety inspections.
Within the scope of the International Telecommunications Union, which is the global regulatory authority, frequency coordination is carried out with neighboring countries to ensure that PNG frequency assignments are registered and protected from interference originating from sources outside PNG. In particular, high frequency communications and broadcasting and the utilisation of orbital satellite positions require international coordination.
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