The island of Niue, one of the world’s smallest self-governing states traditionally has relied on foreign aid, especially from New Zealand and Australia to maintain the budget for its small population. The government is embracing the importance and promotion of eco-tourism with other sustainable exportable organic foods such as vanilla and nonu to expand much needed income to the island and to balance the budget. Niue aims to be 100% carbon neutral by 2012. The 5,000 or so annual visitors to the island inject about $3.5 million into the economy. Meanwhile the 12.5% Niue Consumption Tax that was introduced in 2009, saw $1.4 million collected in the first year.
Telecom Niue provides telephone services to almost every household in Niue and is the island’s largest generator of revenue. The only ISP, Internet User’s Society Niue, provided the world’s first free nationwide WiFi Internet access service in 2003 and is continuing to expand the service. By late 2010 IUSN aims to have all populated areas covered by WiFi.
In 2010, access to the Internet is still free for Niueans. The island’s satellite bandwidth was increased from just 1Mb/s to 4Mb/s with plans to add an additional 2Mb/s satellite service for backup and increased bandwidth in 2010/11.
While the Internet bandwidth has increased, it must be remembered that this is for a whole island. In mid-2010 a government tender ‘Niue ICT Mail & File Server Project’ specified limitations that included tender emails to be less than 2MB due to the satellite connection.
Estimated Internet penetration in selected South Pacific countries – 2010
|Papua New Guinea|
(Source: BuddeComm, various industry sources)
Niue was originally considering upgrading its old analogue network to a GSM system in 2008/09 but the cost would have been prohibitive for such as small population and this proposal has not yet proceeded. An aim of the Niue National Strategic Plan is to have GSM coverage by 2012. But in 2010 an open-source PC-based application using the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) was installed on the Island. The VoIP based gateway uses the Internet satellite connection allowing GSM users to link up using existing 900MHz handsets.
Please note that this report is updated infrequently due to limited availability of information on the local telecoms market.