Tokelau is a small place. In September 2003, a delegation from the Dot TK team went to all three atolls to present what the Internet can mean for such a small country.
It's Monday and we are leaving Nukunonu. Nukunonu is one of atolls of Tokelau*. Our next destination is Fakaofo. We are 'just' 30 hours by plane and 40 hours by boat from the civilized world in Amsterdam. Our mission: to install a high speed Internet connection on Fakaofo.
* Note: For more information about Nukunonu, please see their brand new website: http://www.nukunonu.tk.
Fakaofo is the closest atoll to Apia in West Samoa. A boat departs every two weeks for a trip to all the three atolls of Tokelau. Finally we got there on Monday afternoon. At this stage we have already discussed the Internet project with the Council of Elderly on the other two islands and they have given us the blessing and trust that everything would work fine. For such a small nation as Tokelau, communication is very important. Needless to say it not only improves their way of living, but also improves health care and educational facilities. Fakaofo is chosen to be the first island to have 24x7 high speed Internet installed.
Foundation Tokelau, established in the Netherlands, finances the project. This Foundation has an advisory board with members of the community in Tokelau, and with members from the (anthropology) academic world.
The funds are received from large corporations that want to claim their TRADEMARK.TK domain names.
If you are a representative of a large corporation, and want to make donations to the Foundation Tokelau, please contact us.
But now, let's continue the story in Fakaofo:
|A satellite, 36.000 kilometers in orbit, connects Fakaofo to the phone systems in New Zealand. The equipment installed on Fakaofo can handle four simultaneous phone connections over this satellite connection. We came to Tokelau to install the Internet connection, which is not using the phone system, but which is logically different. Since we wanted to use the same satellite dish (in Satellite lingo: Earth Station), we needed to use the same satellite. And so we did. The plan was to connect Fakaofo to Los Angeles, USA for Internet, and keep the current phone infrastructure to New Zealand intact.
You have to imagine that there are two cables going from the satellite dish to the phone equipment. One cable is for receiving, and one cable is for transmitting. To use the same dish, we needed to do something important: cut the cables and split them up; one cable to the old (working) phone system, and one cable to the new Internet connection, each for receiving and for transmitting. Installing the splitter was the most important task for us, since it might be that the phone system would not work anymore after we have split the cable. If that were the case, then the entire island would be out of a phone connection!
After arrival on Monday afternoon, we went directly to work, and installed the splitter: successfully! YEAH!
||Next step is to install the satellite modem and router. That was literally a piece of cake. That's because we all pre-configured the equipment back in the Netherlands. We installed the equipment on Tuesday. Within eight hours of putting the cables together and tuning the modem to the right frequency everything was done! On Wednesday we officially opened the Fakaofo Internet Corner.
Balder and Joost spent the following days training the local staff on the satellite infrastructure, the modem and the router. And over weekend they designed and developed a local website, with information from the island. This website is now online at http://www.fakaofo.tk.
Nukunonu and Atafu are the atolls to follow. For this, more funds are needed in the Foundation Tokelau. Again, if you are a representative of a Fortune 500 company, don't wait and contact us.
Dot TK is grateful in completing the first step of this project successfully and we would like to thank the entire Teletok staff, the Council of Elderly, the Faipule of Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, the Pulenukus of all three atolls and especially all the people who took good care of us, for the hospitality, use of their homes, their homestays and the provided food. Thanks for the great experience!