25 June, 2006

Connectivity coming to rural and remote areas

Noumea, New Caledonia -- Tomorrow, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), New Caledonia's telecom company, OPT, and Pacific IP, a private telecommunications operator, will introduce the Sky Edge VSAT initiative. The technology will be demonstrated to a diverse audience and members of CROP agencies inlcuding Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat at SPC's Noumea headquarters.

Sky Edge VSAT, which is quick and easy to install and runs on solar power, can provide satellite internet access and telephone connection in remote areas. It gives people living in these areas the ability to connect to the outside world, offering them new opportunities for distance learning, access to health information, and help in emergencies. More than 80% of all Pacific Island people live in such areas.

"More and more Pacific leaders are asking us to extend our services to cover remote areas as well as urban areas and island capitals," says Dr Jimmie Rodgers, SPC's Director-General, who himself grew up in the rural Western Province of Solomon Islands. "People in urban areas are very familiar with the benefits of the Internet and other information and communication technologies. Now, new methods of accessing these technologies can spread the benefits to remote communities and clearly provide us with new ways of delivering our services and improving our people's general standard of living - as we endeavor to promote good governance and sustainable development, improve health care and education systems, and achieve more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities."

For more information, contact Mr Sam Taufao, SPC Information Technology Manager and Mr Steffen Holtz, Director of Pacific IP, on +687 790442 (mobile).

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