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.
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.
Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui, director of Internet Niue’s service provider RockET Systems Limited, has been elected to the board of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the world-wide Internet Society (PICISOC). He will also serve as PICISOC secretary for two years.
The chapter, which represents the interests of Oceania-Pacific internet users, seeks to provide impartial and relevant advice to Pacific Island governments and internet users.
PICISOC has been at the forefront of a number of important initiatives in the region, including geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS); the move to IPv6; cybersecurity; working in collaboration with the Pacific Network Operators Group and other related groups; access for people with disabilities; internet governance; and improving the availability of free and open software).
PICISOC’s annual conference, PacINET, brings together many internet practitioners from around the region. Representatives from Internet Niue are regular attendees at the conference and have been strong supporters of PICISOC activities over the years.
Emani says most Pacific Islands face similar challenges in providing internet services that meet the expectations of 21st century users.
“So it’s important that we share experiences and knowledge, and work together to provide our users with the best possible internet technology and service. PICISOC is the best forum for doing that.”
A new Internet Niue transmission tower at Lakepa is now providing stable service to the north of the island.
Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui of RockET Systems, Internet Niue’s service provider, says the transmitter has been tested for more than a month with good results. Internet users in Lakepa, Mutulau and Liku will be enjoying the benefits.
“It will eventually be one of our main wifi sites. Because of its greater height, there is less interference from the rapidly growing vegetation in the area.”
The 40-metre tower, which was funded by The IUSN Foundation, is one of the tallest structures on the island. The tallest is the 85-metre Niue Broadcasting Corporation tower at Sekena.
Internet Niue is saddened by the death of Niue artist Charles Jessop, the designer of the Internet Niue logo.
Mr Jessop, the art teacher at Niue High School, was one of a small group of artists who led the revival of interest in the distinctive Niuean designs traditionally used to decorate hiapo (tapa cloth). The Internet Niue logo is a modern interpretation of this art form.
Fortysix year-old Mr Jessop died from haemorrhagic dengue fever, a rare complication of dengue infection, and is survived by his wife Sema and baby Arizona. Most people infected with dengue suffer only mild symptoms such as fevers, but for an unfortunate few infection can be extremely painful or even fatal.
Niue residents have suffered from a series of dengue infections in the past 12 months. Dengue is caused by up to four virus infections spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. The Niue Government has a major mosquito control operation underway and residents and visitors are urged to use insect repellent and to minimise skin exposure.
Many relatives of Mr Jessop returned to Niue from Auckland to attend the funeral held earlier this week in his home village of Mutalau, attended by most of the population of the island.