The Information Communication Technology (ICT) Services Division within the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) is responsible for the oversight and coordination of Information and Communication Technologies service and infrastructure delivery in Solomon Islands.
Since communication services form a core mandate of the Ministry, it is responsible for administering certain functions of the Telecommunication, Postal Corporation and Television Acts. The Ministry is also working through the ICT Services Division to find ways to update certain sections of these key pieces of legislation that may have gaps or that may be outdated and therefore, not complement national development aspirations in the communication sector.
Most of the issues identified with these legal frameworks are results of the global revolution in information communication technology (ICT), the convergence of service delivery into ICT and limited skills available to understand BIG data which is available online.
As telecommunication infrastructures and information communication services continue to revolutionize the Solomon Islands, the ability to transform BIG data and services available online into an advantage for the country is an issue that needs urgent attention. Essentially, this is to ensure that users effectively utilize this readily available information as knowledge that contributes to the socio-economic development of Solomon Islands.
Up until 2015, the function of the ICT Services Division had remained dormant, mainly due to the Ministry lacking the necessary resources and manpower to adequately perform its legal mandates.
In the same year, the ministry commenced work to strengthen the capacity of the Division to oversee the functions of Acts relevant to the communication sector with the aim of improving service delivery. These improvements include the recruitment of a Director for the Division and two other senior officers to oversee the establishment of the Communication Division’s office and to perform the functions of the office.
Most recently, the Division had its name changed from the Communications Department to the ICT Services Division to reflect the Division’s new priorities in carrying out its functions.
The Ministry has also prioritized the strengthening of a policy framework as a key programme towards advancing development in the communication sector. In this regard, the ministry has recently embarked on establishing a policy framework that will facilitate development and the implementation of relevant programmes that will enable the ministry to fully perform its expected functions. The recent policies formulated for the communications sector include the National ICT Policy and the National Broadcasting Policy. The two policies form the building blocks for developing the communication sector in Solomon Islands. In the immediate future the Ministry will continue to prioritize legislative reforms that are compatible with rapid changes in technology while ensuring that ICT development in Solomon Islands is all-inclusive.
The ICT Services Division has embraced the Ministry’s Strategic Goal #6. “Building a greater access to communication services and knowledge towards improving livelihood and wellbeing of all Solomon Islanders” as its overall key objective heading into the future.
On the international front, the Division represents Solomon Islands at international inter-governmental ICT bodies and forums such as meetings of the United Nations’ specialized Agency, International Telecommunications Union (ITU).