Speaking up for the Pacific

Internet Niue and its service provider RockET Systems have been speaking up in international forums on behalf of internet users in Niue and the wider Pacific.

Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui at ICANN in Beijing

Internet Niue’s Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui at the ICANN conference in Beijing

RockET director Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui says it’s important that the global internet community is constantly reminded of the internet access issues faced by small Pacific Islands.

“Satellite connections such as the one Internet Niue funds for Niue are hugely expensive. Limited bandwidth is a frustration for users. Also latency – the time it takes for a signal to travel from ground station to ground station via the satellite – hinders Niueans from using some applications,” he says.

“There are potential solutions out there, but we have to keep awareness of our access issues alive, or they will drop off the international radar.”

ICANN is the international body that governs the internet. Fakaotimanava-Lui attended its conference in Beijing earlier this month as a delegate representing Internet Niue as a member of ICANN’s Asia-Pacific group, APRALO.

“I focused mainly on the APRALO meeting.  ICANN is a strange organisation that it has so many acronyms and different type of committees, councils, groups, organisations and levels all under one umbrella!  Imagine the internet and its interconnectivity, that’s how all of the arms, legs and limbs of ICANN would be like!”

He says he spoke at several sessions: “Mostly it’s to do with telling everyone who we are but also to explain the technical issues we face. These issues apply to the Pacific Islands, but not to Australia and New Zealand, which are usually lumped together with us as part of a wider Pacific region, which in turn is often lumped together with Asia.”

For the future, Fakaotimanava-Lui sees the need for a Pacific Island sub-group within ICANN so that island nations can have a louder and more cohesive voice in international forums.

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