Portugal Telecom (PT) has announced it plans to increase investment in Timor-Leste and develop new projects to help make the island one of the most developed countries in the region in terms of telecommunications, reports Portuguese daily Jornal de Negocios. PT holds a majority stake in Timor Telecom (TT), which holds a monopoly on the telecoms sector in Timor-Leste, having assumed the risk of investing in the country's non-existent infrastructure and creating its telecoms systems from scratch. PT's plans include a project to connect Timor to a high speed data network via a submarine cable linking the island to Australia, Asia and Europe; the launch of community information centres to increase access to the internet; expansion of 3G coverage to all urban areas; increasing population coverage to 90% in the next four years; and raising TT's total subscriber base to 300,000 by the end of the year. Executive chairman of the Portuguese group, Zeinal Bava, has scheduled meetings with the Timorese authorities and shareholders of Timor Telecom (TT), in what will be his first visit to the island. TT provides both fixed and mobile services to around 220,000 customers and says it provides wireless network coverage to 68% of the population.
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John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
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