Minister Masiu cutting the ribbon to newly built Gabagaba ICT Center, witnessed by NICTA CEO Mr Kila Gulo-Vui, UAS Chairman Mr. Kone Kula, Gabaspot CEO Mr. Guise Vere and the local community of Gabagaba, Central Province.
The Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Hon Timothy Masiu, unveiled the Gabagaba Village ICT Facility today, marking a significant step towards bridging the digital divide in rural Papua New Guinea.
The inauguration of this state-of-the-art facility was met with enthusiasm from the local community, who expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to access the digital world.
The Gabagaba Village ICT Facility is part of the Smart Village project, a global initiative, now introduced to PNG through the Government. The project aims to remote areas with the rest of the world. This project focuses on providing essential digital services to underserved communities, and it was made possible through a collaboration between the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) and Gabaspot, a local entrepreneur.
One of the key challenges facing such projects is ensuring long-term sustainability. To address this, the facility was designed and built by local entrepreneurs, ensuring that it remains a vital resource for the Gabagaba community for years to come.
Mr. Kone Kula, Director of the Universal Access Service (UAS) at NICTA, emphasized the importance of bringing communication services to areas with limited access. He encouraged the community to take care of the facility and highlighted the various opportunities in the ICT ecosystem.
CEO of NICTA, Kila Golu-Vui, underscored the impact of the project, which will benefit over 6000 people in the Gabagaba community.
“The intention is to extend the signal to other nearby villages as well,” Mr Gulo-Vui added.
He commended the CEO of Gabaspot Mr. Guise Vere’s passion for making the project sustainable and ensuring that harmful content is filtered from the network, especially to protect children.
Minister Timothy Masiu expressed his deep honor at being part of this initiative, stressing the importance of embracing the Smart Village concept to keep in pace with global technological advancements.
He highlighted recent collaborations at the Pacific ICT dialogue and the signing of the Lagatoi Declaration as steps toward introducing digital services at the grassroots level.
Minister Masiu added that the government is committed to harnessing the power of technology to uplift the lives of all Papua New Guineans, regardless of their geographical location.
CEO for Gabaspot Mr. Guise Vere announced that the facility would be known as the “Gabaspot Digital Hub.” He also revealed plans for digital training programs to empower the local community, emphasizing the long-term significance of this endeavor.
This facility is the second of its kind launched by NICTA, with the aim of serving the local population.
The Gabagaba Village Connectivity Facility boasts 16 computers, equipped with an e-library to benefit students who can use the resources free of charge. To combat frequent power outages, the facility is equipped with a solar power system, a standby generator, and servers powered by an inverter. Additionally, Mr. Vere, a key figure in the project, has introduced an affordable token-based Internet cafe system, making local internet access more accessible.
The launch of the Gabagaba Village ICT Facility marks a crucial milestone in Papua New Guinea’s journey towards digital inclusion, offering the local community access to the benefits of the digital age while fostering sustainability and responsible internet usage.