Last month, leaders and representatives from the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Niue and Tokelau signed a Cooperation Arrangement relating to a Pacific International Connectivity Project.
The signed arrangement is focused on improving the international telecommunications infrastructure for the participating countries and the resulting economic and social benefits that improved connectivity will bring to the participating countries.
“We have been talking about improving connectivity for many years,” says the Hon. Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. “Finally, we are taking concrete actions to further connect our people and business with others. This is extremely positive and we will definitely work with our partners to make this happen.”
Government officials are currently working together to agree on joint requirements and contributions to regional connectivity projects. By the end of July 2016, they will present solutions for a submarine cable, as well as satellite infrastructure for islands that cannot be served by the cable.
Currently, the Cook Islands access the Internet only via expensive satellite connections – a “standard” broadband plan in the Cook Islands costing NZD 49 a month comes with a six-gigabyte data cap and with a 100-millisecond lag. However, it is anticipated that the Cook Islands will be part of a submarine fibre optic cable solution.
The project will agree on actions to achieve the government’s shared vision of providing reliable, affordable and high-speed broadband to ensure that larger and remote islands can benefit from planned initiatives such as telemedicine and online education.
Listen to an interview from Dateline Pacific with the Cook Islands Financial Minister Mark Brown on the project and what it will mean for his country.
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