We live in a world of change; change is unfamiliar, we ignore it, we avoid it; often we try to resist it. Today we are talking more about it.’

So said a Facebook user recently in response to the political turmoil in Papua New Guinea. Internet use is on the rise throughout the Pacific. From Fiji’s warring blogs, to new online businesses in Vanuatu, to Tonga’s inflows of cash and cultural influences from nationals living abroad. Across the Pacific the internet is ending the tyranny of distance and strengthening social bonds.

With increasing access to the internet, the latest discussion paper from the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) examines this shifting technology landscape.

Some of the key messages highlighted in PiPP’s latest discussion starter include:

» The internet is here to stay. Leaders who accept it and engage with an increasingly connected citizenry will benefit.

» Some may see this trend as a threat, but it’s manageable, especially by getting ahead of the game and helping, not hindering, this proliferation.

» Open competition and a strong independent regulatory environment generate the most benefit for everyone. Healthy competition also allows government to maintain balance in an economic sector whose value will only increase.

» Online social networks have a lot in common with traditional society, which gives Pacifc islanders a distinct edge as they learn to apply new tools to ageold tradition



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