Internet Niue promises a big New Year

Internet Niue says internet users will have plenty to celebrate in the New Year, with further improvements to their free broadband WiFi service.

In the last month, Vaiea has “gone-live”, leaving only Hikutavake, Makefu, Namukulu and Toi to be connected to the service. All other villages, including more than 95 per cent of the population, have access to Internet Niue’s broadband service.

Network manager Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui says he has hired a new technician who will be moving to Niue shortly. “With his help we will have these remaining villages connected early in the New Year.”

Internet Nuie has had a big 2010, expanding its network to Mutalau, Tamakautoga and Vaiea and quadrupling its total bandwidth. It also bought a second satellite dish which will provide another boost in bandwidth and provide back-up if the main satellite connection fails.

Getting the second dish installed is on top of Emani’s to-do list when he gets back to work after the Christmas break.

He says the big challenge for all internet service providers around the world is that each increase they provide in bandwidth is matched by an increase in user demand. The difference is that other countries are connected to each other by “big pipes” – cables that at little cost can handle huge amounts of data. Niue has to rely on expensive satellite links.

“Five years ago everyone was excited by the idea of sending emails and doing searches on the net. Now many of us expect to be able to update Facebook pages, Skype friends and family overseas and download movies.

“Since bandwidth is limited to what the satellite can handle, in 2010 we began using clever software that gives priority to essential traffic like emails, web browsing and social media updating. Movie downloads are big users of bandwidth and they get what’s left.”

Early 2011 will also bring new websites for Internet Niue as well as for Rocket Systems – the company owned by Emani and his wife TaniRose. Rocket has the contract for providing services for Internet Niue.

Once all villages are connected and the second satellite dish is installed, Emani’s focus will shift to replacing all Internet Niue’s transmitters. These are on the 900 MHz band, a frequency that the government this year reallocated to Telecom Niue for its mobile phone network.

Replacing the transmitters, many of which are quite new, is costly. Emani says he would have liked to have seen this money spent on further improvements in services, but there is a silver lining.

“We have yet to complete our trials, but experience on Christmas Island tells us that 700 MHz transmissions will cut through vegetation a lot better than 900 MHz. The regrowth of trees and dense vegetation since cyclone Heta has given us quite a few challenges in the last couple of years.”

Background note

The people of Niue are provided with free internet services by Internet Niue. These services are funded by The IUSN Foundation, the designated manager of the .nu internet domain.

For more information, please ring Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui, Tel +683 4638

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