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Internet Access in Rotuma

For Internet access, the best and most economical course of action by the Rotumans on the island is to capitalise on the free Internet connectivity provided by the eCommunity satellite that's located behind the Post office.

Our reason for installing it there in 2008 was because we wanted to set up an eCommunity room for free/economic Internet access for the community that would be managed by the community.

The initial setup was with Post Fiji as a stakeholder, but they stuck with TFL Internet for their Internet cafe, and so the Govt still provides a free govnet connection via that satellite to the govt. departments there, but the eCommunity project is still available should the Rotuman Council finally decide to take up the challenge of doing the following:

  1. Set up a room that'll provide "internet cafe" services for the community, at a sustainable cost cheaper then the competition.
  2. eCommunity will provide connectivity with 5 terminals (example of this model is at Indian High School in Suva).
  3. Rotuman Council can make this sustainable with peripheral services such as:

    • hiring out digital cameras for community functions (weddings, funerals, etc)
    • building up photoshop skills to print photos and sell them to community
    • creating websites that keep all of the world updated on activities in Rotuma (there should be enough web-skilled Rotumans to assist in this).

There are many other services that this particular "cafe" can offer to the community and if it's run by an accountable group it can become sustainable and provide skills development for those involved.

More technical front line support will be required; IT knowledgeable Rotumans around the world working in professional careers can assist in developing the skills required to support front line requirements.

There's a lot that that can be done to capitalise on the already free Internet access available via the govt. satellite and govt. offices.

I'm not sure where the eCommunity project is at the moment. Since I left in September, a lot has changed. No harm in finding out via ITC Services management from someone in an official capacity.

Also, there are NGOs that are offering solar power to communities, provided justification. This is an avenue that should be considered on a serious basis for the communities in Rotuma. Rupeni can offer us more info on that subject matter.

There's a lot that can be done, and getting in the right people with enough accountability put in place to ensure continual growing support will guarantee success regardless of internal island politics.

Submitted by Mahlon Isimeli (12 January 2011).