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MAKING INFORMATION AND

COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
(ICT) ACCESSIBLE

Abel Pires da Silva
East Timor ICT Association (ICT-TL)
WHAT IS ICT?
 “ICTs are basically information handling tools—a
varied set of goods, applications and services that
are used to produce, store, process,
distribute and exchange information.

 They include the “old” ICTs of radio, television
and telephone, and the “new” ICTs of computers,
satellites and wireless technology and the
Internet.

 These different tools are now able to work
together, and combine to form our “networked
world”, a massive infrastructure of interconnected
telephone services, standardized computer
hardware, the Internet, radio and television, which
reaches into every corner of the globe’*

*Academy of ICT for Government Leaders, UNAPC ICT (http://www.unacpict.org )
BACKGROUND OF ICT IN TIMOR-
LESTE
 Telecommunication Concession Contract:
 15-year monopoly in the form of a build operate
transfer (BOT) concession contract
 Role of Telecommunication Regulatory Body is
still weak
 No Integrated ICT Policy Development in
Place
 ICTGovernance (Connectivity, Content and
Capacity, legal requirements)
 Embryonic Information Society
CURRENT HINDRANCES TO ICT
ACCESS IN TIMOR-LESTE -1

 Limited understanding and recognition of how ICT
can contribute to development shared amongst
Decision Makers, Regulators and public in general

 The abolition of the Department of
Telecommunication and Transport in 2007, and its
merger with other sectors to form the Department
of Infrastructure – is an indication of the low
priority given by the government to the
development of the ICT sector.
CURRENT HINDRANCES TO ICT
ACCESS IN TIMOR-LESTE -2

 15 years TT Monopoly arrangement, resulting
in:
 Encouragement for the operator to maximize short-
term profits (15 years time limit)
 High price regime
 Limited number of customers
 Low quality of services
 No/limited consumer protection
 Limited investment
‘Telecommunications in the Pacific’, Background paper for the Pacific Economic Survey
‘Telecommunications in the Pacific’, Background paper for the Pacific Economic Survey
‘Telecommunications in the Pacific’, Background paper for the Pacific Economic Survey
CURRENT HINDRANCES TO ICT
ACCESS IN TIMOR-LESTE - 3

 Lack of Supporting Infrastructure (No power
supply, Connectivity, Hardware/software):
 Appr. only 43,500 households have access to
electricity* (22 %)
 Of this: 85 % are in Dili, only 5 % in Rural areas)

 High level of Illiteracy -adult literacy rate is only
50.1%(ages 15 and older)**
 Limiting the form of content to Video/Audio only –no
text)

*World Bank report 2007, **Ausaid (http://www.ausaid.gov.au/country/country.cfm?
CountryId=911)
CURRENT HINDRANCES TO ICT
ACCESS IN TIMOR-LESTE - 4

 Poverty. Estimated number of poor people is
49.9 % (living on less than US$1 a day)* -

 It will be even higher if the standard is to be
raised to US$ 2/day (could potentially reach
60-70% figure)

*Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards 2007, Directorate of National Statistics, Ministry
of Finance, with support from the World Bank
CURRENT HINDRANCES TO ICT
ACCESS IN TIMOR-LESTE - 5
 Some hidden challenges:
 Change management as ICT use in most cases
requires changes in some aspects within the
organization (the way things are done: Introduction
of new procedures, new culture, etc.)

 Expectation management as over expectation could
kill any ICT4D initiatives

 Non-technical aspects: Culture, political, physical
conditions, etc.
CHANGES FOR BETTER ICT ACCESS IN
TL

 Focus on two main aspects:

1. Development ICT Sector itself
2. ICT for Development (ICD4D) Strategy
CHANGES FOR BETTER ICT ACCESS IN TL-
1
 Political Level:
 Competition (where market works –economically
viable regions)
 Universal Service Obligation (where market does
not work-economically unviable regions)
 Empowerment of Telecommunication Regulatory
Body (ARCOM)

 Requires proper assessment of ICT4D needs
in TL (sector by sector –health, education,
agriculture, etc.)
CHANGES FOR BETTER ICT ACCESS IN TL
-2
 Development of an Integrated ICT
Development Policy and Plan:

 ICT for Development (ICD4D) Deployments

 3C – Connectivity, Content (especially Local
content) and Capacity (Human Resource):
 Connectivity to the remote sites of Timor using
appropriate Technology (Wireless)
 Local Content Development to suit local needs in terms
of language and form
 Human resource development strategy
CHANGES FOR BETTER ICT ACCESS IN TL
-3

 Localization of Internet content inside Timor-Leste (Intranet
strategy):
 Local servers: for email, websites, news, e-commerce, wiki, etc.
 Limit the use of expensive Internet International bandwidth –
lower cost

 Localization of the forms of the Content: Local languages
and appropriate forms of content (Audio/video).
 For instance: use locally developed animation to teach Timor’s
history, health campaign, etc.
CHANGES FOR BETTER ICT ACCESS IN TL
-4
 Technology in use: Wireless, Open Source Software
and Open hardware-Low procurement and
maintenance costs

 The use of ICT to deal with factors hindering ICT Use
in Timor-Leste:
 ICT Based/support Income generation activities
 ICT Based learning materials to combat Illiteracy (The
Cuban experience)
 ICT Based/support for the Empowerment of women

 The ICT for Development (ICT4D) Task Force
TO SUM UP

 ICT Sector Development – Pro development
approach
 ICT for Development (ICT4D) Strategy

 Technology in use: Wireless, Open Source System
and Open Hardware
 Consider non ICT related aspects (cultural,
educational, political, physical conditions,
expectations, change, etc.)
THANK YOU