In French Polynesia, digital development is of strategic importance due to its role in opening the isolated islands to the outside world, promoting territorial cohesion and international connections.
While Tahiti, Moorea and the Leeward Islands benefit from a good internet connection thanks to a submarine cable installed in 2010, this is not the case for the other Polynesian archipelagos spread across a territory that is as large as Europe. The island residents, elected officials, administrations and private sector have expressed strong expectations for the improvement of their connection which has historically been supplied by unreliable, low-speed satellite links.
The Polynesian government has commissioned the Polynesian public telecommunications operator, Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT), to connect 20 Marquesas and Tuamotu islands to high-speed internet. To do so, the Natitua project offers a long-term solution by combining two types of connection technology. The first, a network of submarine cables spanning 2,600 km, was pulled by a cable layer, connecting Tahiti and ten of the Marquesas and Tuamotu islands. Microwave radio waves are then transmitted from these islands to connect the other ten islands to the cable.
At the same time, work was carried out on each island to update local connections (fiber optic and radio links) in order to connect end users, administrative sites and cellular networks.
The Natitua project provides 22,000 inhabitants with access to a reliable and affordable high-speed connection. It also provides a connection for Taiohae hospital, 12 health centers, 60 schools and the 40,000 tourists who visit the islands each year. This connection reduces the isolation of these islands and their inhabitants. It also enhances their attractiveness by allowing local economic stakeholders to promote their activities and expand their opportunities.
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