Niue's wi-fi internet survived cyclone's devastation
Posted on 20-Jan-2004 10:07
Filed under: News
The NU Domain Ltd. announced the successful restoration of the devastated island of Niue's Internet link and wi-fi services. The island, a small nation in the Pacific, is also known for its free wireless services provided by The Niue Internet Users Society, a .NU Domain's charitable foundation set up to maintain free Internet services for the people of Niue.
On 5 January 2004, cyclone Heta, a category 5 cyclone with winds travelling at 300km/h, ripped through the island, destroying everything in its path, including the hospital, hotels, the island's telecommunications antenna and numerous homes. All electricity and communications links were cut and fuel storage tanks were destroyed, leaving Niueans with no communication capabilities with the rest of the world until last weekend.
Telecom New Zealand has announced that the main telecommunications link with Niue has been restored, but because of cable damage on the island caused by the cyclone, not all normal telephone numbers are yet operating. "Telecommunications engineers from our company have been working closely with colleagues from Telecom Niue, Telecom Cook Islands and OPT in French Polynesia to restore the link" Telecom project manager John Warriner said.
Staff of the island's Internet Users Society (IUS-N), have worked to restore the country's Internet infrastructure since the cyclone hit. IUS-N administrative manager Stafford Guest, who was in New Zealand during the storm, returned to Niue on the first flight available, with replacement equipment for the Internet services and wi-fi services.
"Most of the equipment survived," said IUS-N technical manager, Richard St. Clair. "That's because we stored it all in a water-tight metal shipping container before the cyclone hit."
"Some WiFi antennas were lost," said Emani Lui, who originally installed and tuned the antennas for the WiFi service. "But many have now been repaired or replaced and are functioning normally.
Portions of revenues derived from .NU domain name registrations have funded IUS-N's activities in Niue since 1997, including development of the Internet infrastructure and training of local staff to manage Niue's free national Internet link; funding and installation of the world's only national free WiFi net; as well as paying for computers, text books and sports clothing for the island's schools.
The cyclone in Niue caused no disruption in .NU Domain's customers' domain name servers, web sites and other technical services. In order to avoid the risks associated with unpredictable and destructive storms of the South Pacific, .NU Domain has always operated its servers and operations in secure professionally managed sites in Europe and the United States.
.NU Domain is calling on its customers around the world to support the aid effort through the Red Cross's Pacific Cyclone Relief web fund. "Niue needs help now, and we urge those who want to donate money to support the New Zealand Red Cross relief effort," said Semich. The New Zealand Red Cross have been active on the island from the start and are delivering clothes, cooking equipment and first-aid kits for those that have been made homeless.