MTK: “Fiber optic is the only solution for digital growth in TL”

MTK: “Fiber optic is the only solution for digital growth in TL”

Minister of Transport and Telecomunication, (MTT), Jose Agostinho (Image Tatoli/Francisco Sony)

DILI, 15 august 2022 (TATOLI) – The Minister of Transport and Communications (MTK), José Agostinho da Silva says fiber optic is the only solution to ensure digital growth in the country.

Minister Silva made the comments in a national seminar themed: “Present and Future of Digital Development in Timor-Leste,” at Suai Room Hall, at Timor Plaza, in Dili, on monday.

“Investment in the network infrastructure such as Timor-Leste South Submarine Cable (TLSSC) is important to ensure the digital development and growth in the country,” he said.

Silva emphasized that apart from State’s broadband investment, the Government also authorized private companies and telecommunications operators to invest in fiber optic projects: “Both government and telecom operators must support each other when it comes to the internet outage. For instance, if there is something wrong with the State-owned internet service, then we can use the private internet service. Therefore, the government always encourages private companies and telecom operators to invest in fiber optic projects because it will enhance digital growth in the country.”

Earlier this year, four companies – SACOM-TL, Metrolindo, Moratelinod, and Telkomcel – submitted their proposal to Timor-Leste’s TradeInvest to invest in fiber optic projects.

“One of the government’s policies is to ensure more and better internet connectivity for all citizens. So, fiber optic is one of the required internet infrastructures to ensure everyone can connect to the internet,” said Silva.

During his presentation, Silva outlined that the development of the internet infrastructure such as fiber optic projects, satellite internet, and terrestrial networks will help to solve the current problems – slow internet speed, internet outages, and highs cost.

He said good internet speed will contribute to national development by strengthening economic growth, improving education, enhancing Timor-Leste’s service delivery through E-Governance, and so on.

“It is expected that by 2030, all schools and clinics across the country will have access to the internet,” Silva predicted.

On may 31, this year, the government of Timor-Leste, through the Intermenstrual Committee and Alcatel Submarine Network Sign (ASN) signed the implementation of the TLSSC project. The TLSSC project is expected to conclude in 2024.

The government of Timor-Leste has allocated US$41.6 million of the 2022 General State Budget for the acquisition of submarine fiber optic cable equipment.

At the same place, the President of Timor-Leste’s Press Council, Virgílio da Silva Guterres argued that the fast internet speed of course will lead to the creation of a smart society with smart people, but saying government also needs to educate its people to use the internet responsibly in this digital era.

He said by improving digital literacy skills among Timorese people is important to ensure every citizen can navigate the information in today’s digital world rightly.

“Teaching the people about using the internet responsibly seems necessary to combat fake news and hate speech. Because both fake news and hate speech are not part of the freedom of expression. In addition, digital literacy is also important to prevent Timorese people from engaging in sexting,” Guterres said.

Secretary of State for Communications, Merício Juvinal dos Reis “Akara” also highlighted the importance of promoting digital literacy in the country.

“Promoting digital literacy in a developing country like Timor-Leste is crucial to ensure that our people have enough digital literacy skills to navigate, search and absorb information on the internet for positive things,” he said


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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