Faster, more reliable internet changes how we interact with one another, do business, access research and even receive entertainment online. The FSM Connectivity Project, which includes both the FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMTCC) and the Telecommunication Regulations Authority (TRA) is initiating this change, as part of Government’s efforts to improve telecommunications services in FSM.
Faster internet is being introduced to FSM via undersea fiber optic cables that already connect Pohnpei, Chuuk and now Yap to the rest of the world. Kosrae is due to be connected to this fiber optic network by 2021. Fiber optic cable is capable of carrying the fastest internet speeds currently available. Funding for this project has been generously provided, in the form of a grant, from the World Bank.
Another key aspect of the Connectivity Project is the introduction of competition into FSM’s telecommunication sector. FSM has historically had only one service provider for telecommunications, so allowing other providers into the market should introduce new services, competitive pricing and improved customer service. Customers throughout FSM should benefit from this new competitive spirit in the market.
According to President David Panuelo, in a documentary produced through the Connectivity Project, “Government is fully on board this process of opening up the market to invite outside operators. As President of the country, I support this 100%.” The FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMTCC) is the company responsible for establishing and maintaining the fiber optic cables, both the current undersea cables and, in the near future, those on land in FSM’s four states. The cables are owned by FSMTCC for the Government of FSM. FSMTCC is a private entity with an independent board of directors.
The Telecommunication Regulations Authority (TRA) is the new regulator for the telecommunications market. They are responsible for identifying and monitoring any new service providers that want to enter FSM’s telecommunication market. They ensure that the public’s interests are taken into account and ensure that all providers abide by strict new guidelines.
Apart from bringing undersea fiber optic cable to each state, FSMTCC is planning to introduce fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to each of the main islands. FTTH will provide family homes, businesses, educational- and healthcare institutions and government departments with a much faster, more reliable internet connection, opening the door to a wide range of online services. Outer islands will not be left out. Satellite-based solar powered VSAT systems are being planned, that will introduce broadband
speed internet and telephony service to nearly every island in FSM with 100 inhabitants or more.
Access to high speed internet is seen as a way to boost FSM’s economy, make tourism more accessible, enable students to do more online research and enhance the public’s experience with e-banking, e-government and many other services.