Our link to the world

THE region’s communications needs continue to grow as technological advances make contact so much easier across the globe. In the Pacific, however, cost has always been an inhibitor. But a new cable link will make communications faster and more affordable. NETANI RIKA speaks to FINTEL CEO George Samisoni about cable systems.

ISLANDS BUSINESS: We understand that a major cable project will soon link Tonga to Fiji through the Southern Cross Cable. What implications will that have for internet users and business in general for Tonga?

SAMISONI: Fiji/FINTEL is the telecommunications hub of the Pacific. International telecommunications in Fiji began due to the fortuitous location of the country on the optimum cable route between Australia and Canada coupled with the man created situation of colonial preferences. Had the country been elsewhere or, if the country had not been colonized under the Deed of Cession, early cable facilities would probably not have landed here. However, they did and the inevitable result was the establishment of Fiji as the central location for largely overseas business in the region. Since the landing of the telegraphic cable in 1902, FINTEL/Fiji continues to attract regional cable systems onto its shores. The major attraction today for the regional islands is the Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), which landed in Fiji in 2000, FINTEL being a Landing Party for this state of the art optical fibre submarine cable system. Tonga (2013) and Vanuatu (2014) cable systems are now interconnected with FINTEL/Fiji to access the SCCN. The arrival of the submarine cables has radically altered the ICT landscape of both islands. The supply of bandwidth has increased and there has been a dramatic rise in Internet use measured by both subscriptions and usage.

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