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Vanuatu Village Taking Full Advantage of New Internet Service
Source: www.radionz.co.nz
Source Date: Thursday, July 21, 2016
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Viet Nam
Created: Jul 27, 2016

Sharks, apples, football results and YouTube are popular searches for the Vanuatu Lambubu community using its first internet connection.

A pilot programme by the satellite operator Kacific and the Vanuatu government set up the free service at Lambubu Primary School on Malekula Island earlier this month.

About 20GB per day is being used at the Lambubu site whereas the average New Zealand household used 45GB in the month of June last year.

The CEO of Kacific, Christian Patouraux, told Daniela Maoate-Cox the community are taking full advantage of the connection.

CHRISTIAN PATOURAUX: YouTube is extremely popular, there was a huge surge of the football federation for the Euro 2016 competition, so there was a lot of followers on that, general browsing is probably what comes second, a lot of Wikipedia, you can see that they're really trying to learn to see all those things that they haven't seen before. It was common things, you wouldn't imagine what people would search, the variety of sharks in the waters of Vanuatu, pictures of sharks, pictures of apples even, of fruits. It was quite funny to see what people were browsing. It's just a general learning, general curiosity of a human discovering knowledge, discovering the world really.

DANIELA MAOATE-COX: The computer lab at Lambubu School will be developed into a government service centre, what does that mean?

CP: The government interest is of course, to help the Ministry of Education and connect those schools in order to provide them with better education materials, up-to-date education materials. It's been extremely difficult for those schools to get updated material, believe it or not, many of those schools are running their curriculum on outdated material and just in general, they feel that they want to balance the load for the education system and keep the kids in their community. Many of those islands, not only Vanuatu, but many islands of the Pacific uproot their kids quite early because of the education system. They have to go down to the main city to get an education that is worth something otherwise they would not get the right level of education in their community, so this is a great opportunity for the government to actually use the infrastructure that they have in the communities, the schools, the teachers, and keep the kids in their communities, keep the kids with their families, because they're being provided the right level of service in their communities.

DM-C: So what's the plan now?
CP: The plan now is, of course, to continue learning with this and prepare the ramp up of our service. Kacific of course, has plans beyond that. Kacific is an internet infrastructure company, it's a large private venture that is preparing the construction and launch of a satellite that is purpose-built for the Pacific and South East Asia. Our satellite will be launched at the end of 2018, so it's quite a few years away still, and needs to be built and this satellite will provide what we provide in Vanuatu now everywhere in the Pacific, including New Zealand.

Christian Patouraux says the service will eventually be charged for and it is up to the Vanuatu government to decide how that cost is covered.
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