19 Oct 2007

SPC says new satellite-based internet system to connect remote islands

2:51 pm on 19 October 2007

People living in remote islands and rural areas of the Pacific will soon be able to connect to the internet via a faster, low-cost, satellite-based system - many for the first time.

The rural interconnectivity system or RICS was officially launched at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tonga this week.

The Australian-funded project will involve sixteen pilot sites being installed in nine countries across the region by next April.

The Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Jimmie Rodgers, says the service will be of tremendous benefit to people in rural and remote areas who've never been online before.

"Our focus is schools and clinics, health facilities, and within that school there will be a computer lab or community information centre that has a number of computers that accesses internet through this facility. So it actually provides exactly the same service as anywhere in the urban areas in the Pacific where you have an internet cafe."

Dr Rodgers says the first pilot project will open in Samoa next month.