Dialogue on ARoB radio frequencies

Minister for ICT, Sam Basil, says a decision will be made soon on whether two more Frequent Mode (FM) frequency points should be established in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville or a Short Wave (SW) station.

This is to improve the dissemination of information through the Island.

Basil said if need be, funding will be requested from the NEC towards the projects.

Bougainville Regional MP, Joe Lera, asked Minister Basil in parliament what plans are in place to improve radio coverage in Bougainville, with the current FM frequency only servicing a small segment of the population.

He said with the referendum preparations, many Bougainvilleans need to be informed.

“This is very important for referendum awareness purposes which is only one year away. At present only 50 percent of the population have some understanding of what the referendum is and the issues relating to it,” said Lera.

Minister Basil said they have established two new sites which could be an extension of the FM frequency or they can opt for a SW.

For the SW option they will have to speak to radio manufacturers as many have stopped creating SW radio receivers.

“We have another option of going directly to the factories of radio to make sure they produce those radio to some numbers that we might require to distribute in Bougainville and those are the decisions we will be making,” said Basil.

A team from NICTA will be travelling to ARoB to look at the possibilities.

“I can assure the Regional Member for Bougainville that NBC will attend to that and I will bring to the attention of Cabinet and the Prime Minister if we need funding to do that,” said Basil.

Cedric Patjole