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Tahiti moves into Internet Fast Lane with Broadband

PAPEETE, Tahiti (April 15, 2003)Tahiti has moved into the Internet fast lane with the launching of a broadband service that is expected to produce 1,200 subscribers by the end of this year.

Thats the prediction of Paul Dugué, general manager of Mana, French Polynesias Internet service provider created in 1998 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the French Polynesia Postal and Telecommunications Department (OPT). During the past five years Mana has built up 11,000 subscribers, and Internet traffic represents more than 50% of the OPTs public telephone network communications.

OPT board of directors has given its approval to a Mana internet broadband development program for the island of Tahiti which is expected to be achieved before mid 2004. Mana next step will bring broadband services to Internet users on Tahitis sister island of Moorea, which is scheduled to occur at the end of 2004.

OPTs Latest Metu@ Project Development

The broadband service is the latest development in the OPTs Metu@ project, which aims to provide each citizen of French Polynesia access to information and communications technology (ICT).

 The objective is to bring Internet access for everyone, regardless of where they live in French Polynesia, at a cost compatible with a households buying power and using the most appropriate technology said French Polynesia Vice President Edouard Fritch, who is also the governments minister of new technologies, postal services and telecommunications. But he added that the price to access such services takes into consideration the size of the market and the investment and operating costs for the services.

 This new broadband network () will first concern the consumer in the most populated areas on Tahiti island, Fritch said.
The Internet Service Provider has created ManaADSL to cover internet broadband service and the ManaPass for analog and ISDN Internet connections. Both new Mana products reflect the demographics of todays Internet users based on a study conducted by the OPT and Mana.

Joint OPT/Mana Study Found What Users Wanted

This recent study focus two categories of Internet usersprofessionals and residents. It points out the classic complaints among residential users that the Internet connection was too slow, involved too many disconnections and involved billing that was too complicated.

On the other hand, professionals complained on Internet connections capacity which does not allow efficient and inexpensive use of multimedia services. A permanent access along with simplified billing is far more interesting for that specific category of Internet user.

Three ManaADSL Broadband Packages Available

 ManaADSL offers Internet users a choice of three packages for a broadband connection.The three packages are aimed at Internet users ranging from the enthusiastic individual to a small business.

The selected technology A.D.S.L., or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, offers high-speed Internet service that permits Internet users to remain connected 24 hours a day, with billing on a fixed monthly basis plus a possible data volume surcharge. Although it uses existing OPT telephone lines, broadband allows todays modern Internet users fast digital access and simultaneous telephone conversations or use of a facsimile machine over the same line.

ManaADSL MONTHLY RATES

TYPE OF INTERNET USER

COST

INCOMING SPEED

OUTGOING SPEED

MAXIMUM MONTHLY VOLUME

Basic: e-mail, light surfing, light downloading

16 500 F CFP US$150

128 KB/S

128 KB/S

2 GIGABYTES

Multi-media use: transferring photos, visiting video websites, listening to radio stations online

29 700 F CFP US$270

256 KB/S

128 KB/S

3 GIGABYTES

Big-time users: online game playing, transferring architectural plans, sharing Internet access with computer network

39 600 F CFP US$360

512 KB/S

256 KB/S

5 GIGABYTES

NOTES: F CFP= French Pacific franc; US$ rate calculated at 109 F CFP=1USD; KB/S=KILOBYTES PER SECOND

Any additional megabyte will be charged 10 F CFP each if the monthly volume is exceeded.. A 10% value added tax (VAT) is added to the final monthly cost of each package.
Each package allows each subscriber to have five megabytes of cumulative storage for five e-mail services; 10 megabytes of storage for a personal website; one access to a news website; and a virtual check on accumulated volume use.

Two Special Broadband Rates for Local Businesses

Mana also offers two special rates for local businesses wanting to sign up for an Internet broadband connection. They are called ManaPro fixed rates. There is a world Internet access rate that is 50% less expensive than previous non-broadband rates. And there is a local Internet access that is six times less expensive than previous non-broadband rate.

Internet broadband connections will be provided first within the City of Papeete during April. Starting May 1, the adjacent communes of Faaa and Pirae will have access. Six other communes  Arue, Mahina, Punaauia, Paea and Taravao - will have access starting June 1st as Mana deploys around the island of Tahiti in both directions, arriving at Taravao, where the main island and its peninsula are joined.
However, eight communes, with smaller populations and, therefore, fewer Internet users, will not have access to Internet broadband services until November and the three communes on Tahitis peninsula will not have access until 2004. By that time, the whole island will have access to broadband

Five ManaPass Packages for Current Analog and Digital Internet Subscribers
Meanwhile, Mana is also offering five dial-up packages to current analog and digital Internet subscribers using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The new fixed rates are 14%-24% cheaper than previous rates for analog connections of 56 kb/s and 30% to nearly 49% cheaper for digital connections of 64 or 128 kb/s.

ManaPASS MONTHLY RATES

TYPE OF INTERNET USER

MONTHLY USE

COST

SAVINGS FOR ANALOG USERS

SAVINGS FOR DIGITAL USERS

PRESENT ANALOG OR DIGITAL SUBSCRIBERS

5 Hours

4 180 F CFP US$38

414%

449%

10 Hours

5 280 F CFP US$48

17%

445.5%

20 Hours

7 590 F CFP US$70

420%

440.5%

50 Hours

14 520 F CFP US$130

422.5%

434%

100 Hours

26 070 F CFP US$240

423.5%

430.5%

Each of the five packages for analog and digital subscribers include the same extra services as for the broadband packagesfive e-mail in-boxes with a total of 5 megabytes; a 10-megabyte personal website; access to one news website; and virtual check on time consumed. There is an extra charge of 10 F CFP for each additional minute and the 10% value added tax for the entire monthly cost.

Internet Bandwidth Increased 33%

All these new services led to a 33% increase of OPT current internet capacityIn order to offer these new services and the demands those services will create, OPT and Mana have had to increased by 33%. the available international bandwidth via satellite dedicated to Internet. This expansion operation has been successfully completed today with Teleglobe on an Intelsat Ltd. Satellite located on the 180°E orbital slot.

The current total cost for linking French Polynesias Internet users to the World Wide Web is around US$ 2.5 million per year.

That helps toThis satellite costs fully explain why even internet services are still remain relatively expensive when compared with other countries :
- High level of investments for a very small market (ADSL : $US 15.8 millions for 5.000 users in the long term) ;
- the regular internet service is the same for any one living in French Polynesia
Despite Geographical geographical dispersion and isolationand technical constraints, the cost of accessing accessing the Internet access is the same for anyone living in French Polynesia : could it be on Tahiti, French Polynesias most populated island, as it is would be for any of the 8,712 people living in the Marquesas Islands, between 1,330 kilometers/826 miles and 1,500 kms/932 miles northeast of Tahiti.)


 
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