[This week’s Communications column for the Vanuatu Independent.]
It won’t come as news to anybody if I say that family is strong in Vanuatu. We’ve known it all along. But with the upcoming release of a new report on telecommunications liberalisation, we will see its influence illustrated in vivid terms.
The Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) will soon be releasing a report measuring the social impacts of telecoms liberalisation in Vanuatu. One of the main findings is that, in the months following the extension of mobile telephone service to the majority of Vanuatu’s population, families benefited more than businesses in terms of changed perceptions and real outputs.
We’ve suspected this for a while. In June of this year, I presented a talk to regional telecommunications providers. Titled ‘Network Effects: Social Significance of Mobile Communications in Vanuatu‘, it explains Network Effects and how they manifest themselves in village life, then looks at some obvious and not-so-obvious implications for network providers in the Pacific.
Briefly, my point is that village life features very tight communication loops from which no one is exempt. The one-to-one aspects of village communications are enhanced by mobile communications, and smart network operators should do what they can to enhance this effect. The result is that our island geography (and gestalt) creates more value per user than traditional business analysis might lead us to believe.