A Pacific-wide online discussion looked at the use of mobile phones and how fast-improving internet access will bring about change in the region.
When international travellers destined for Suva, the capital of Fiji, arrive at Nadi Airport, they may be surprised to learn that they still have a three-hour road journey ahead of them. Yet they would be in for an even greater surprise if they planned to travel to another Fijian island or to another of the 15 countries in the Pacific Ocean, which takes up more than one-third of the planet’s surface. Travel between or even within the Pacific islands is usually by local boat, ferry or small plane. Ferries typically take two days to travel between islands just within one Pacific country and longer in bad weather.
This anecdote provides a useful perspective from which to better understand the opportunities and challenges of ICTs and social media in the Pacific. The opportunities normally provided by modern technology are constrained by an outdated internal infrastructure in dire need of investment and islands scattered across a vast expanse. This seems to hold true for ICTs and for travellers in the Pacific Ocean.