Bridging the digital divide in Papua New Guinea ‘not impossible any more’, says PNG DataCo’s CEO


With the necessary infrastructure being upgraded and data use rising in Papua New Guinea, businesses should be looking to take advantage of cloud technology, according to Paul Komboi, Chief Executive Officer of PNG DataCo.

The eight reasons why businesses need to move to the cloud.

Cloud technology – computing services delivered over the internet – will ‘redefine digital consumption’ in the country.

Describing it as a ‘key enabler’, PNG Dataco’s Managing Director, Paul Kombo  said the challenge facing PNG is to overcome the ‘digital divide’: to close the gap between those who have access to internet-based services and those who don’t.

PNG Dataco is looking to increase the capacity of its data centre services this year to accommodate a surge in demand.

‘All of these things combine: the internet, mobile network, satellites, data centres and IT integration in the cloud itself,’ said Komboi, who asserted that PNG had made great advances in the skills needed to develop new cloud-based services.

DataCo’s Paul Komboi. Credit: BAI

‘We have in the past decade increased [skills] exponentially. Bridging the digital divide is not impossible any more.’

DataCo is pushing industry to adopt cloud technology.

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‘Cloud computing really redefines digital consumption. We believe it will have a direct impact on the development of our country.’ He acknowledged that unreliable power remains a challenge, but said that enhancing connectivity helps to develop the ‘new economy’.

Thinking differently

Cloud-based technology can enable businesses to meet their goals more effectively, according to Une O’Ome, PNG DataCo’s General Manager, Commercial.

‘What goals does a business want to achieve? Efficiency, growth, customer retention, diversification and growing outside the existing markets. To achieve these goals, increased speed of connectivity is essential.’

’For marketing teams, digital-first means reducing your spending on off-line marketing activities. For customer service teams you are no longer restricted to waiting for the phone to ring or the fax to arrive.’

O’Ome noted, however, that the move into the cloud required a more responsive approach to customers.

‘If a company does not move to get closer to customers through cloud compatibility, it will lose competitiveness.

O’Ome said that customers are looking for businesses to be more efficient. ‘If you want to buy a ticket, or get an answer [to a query] you want it straight away. This change is being driven by the customer.’

Lower costs

An added bonus for business is the comparatively lower cost of using cloud services.

‘This cloud infrastructure does not require a heavy capital outlay, so it is affordable. You pay monthly leases,’ said O’Ome.

Internet prices in PNG, he claimed, fell by 40 per cent in 2019 and about the same amount again in 2020.

‘Connectivity prices are falling. Businesses now have an opportunity. A high speed data connection allows information to flow seamlessly in real time, regardless of physical location.

‘For B2B (business-to-business) teams, digital-first means replacing cold calling with social selling. For marketing teams, digital-first means reducing your spending on off-line marketing activities. For customer service teams, you are no longer restricted to waiting for the phone to ring or the fax to arrive.’

The advantages of using cloud technology

As outlined by PNG Dataco’s Paul Komboi.

  • Time efficiency
  • Cost savings
  • Transparency and Integrity
  • Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Productivity
  • 24/7 availability
  • Reliability


  1. Stefan Zwilling says

    First, Cloud is just another computer/server owned and operated by somebody else. Using Cloud Services depends on both reliability of internet/network connections and the operator of the cloud infrastructure. A major challenge is the performance of the domestic network. Please increase the availability and quality here in PNG first before lobbying for cloud services. Reduce the bottlenecks etc. And – this is nowadays common sense, cloud services aren’t necessarily cheaper than in-house solutions. This depends on the business model, the usage and requirements. Hybrid could be one solution, as well as private clouds etc

    Second, to use, run and operate the technology you need a highly skilled and dedicated workforce.This is the real gap and challenge for PNG. Therefor, PNG needs to improve the quality of it´s education system (on al levels from elementary up to tertiary) asap.

    Third. Do I really want to spent a fortune an internet services? Keep in mind, that PNG has one of the highest costs when it comes to ISP….

    To sum up. Cloud alone (and with the current level of infrastructure especially) is not the savior. Moving services from on-premise to cloud or using hybrid solutions must be considered for sure, but needs people who understand what they are doing. Reassess the financial part on services.

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