The South Pacific island nation of Niue has 1750 residents, no television service and a free 128kbit/s satellite link to the Web.
New Zealand ISP NetLink installed full Internet services in Niue last month, in a project funded by selling Niue's .nu country domain name.
A US charity, the Internet Users Society-Niue, sells the domain name and sends 25% of gross profit to Niue for the Internet project, plus health, education and community services. Over 30,000 .nu domain names have been registered to date.
The network has been designed with the island's remote location in mind. Spares are available for all equipment in case of failure and a power conditioning unit protects the network from interruptions in supply.
NetLink's Andrew Linten says Web access is likely to be a catalyst for change in Niue. For example, the island does not have electronic banking services, but the potential now exists to run card transactions back to New Zealand. "A hotel, for example, could validate credit card details through a Web site, give out cash - they use New Zealand dollars so that wouldn't be a problem."
Niue is a raised coral atoll 2400km north-east of New Zealand between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. Until two years ago, most villages only had small phones powered by cranks attached to the side of them.
Telecom Niue has since upgraded these connections and improved local switching, making electronic communication possible.