Papers & Submissions

Discussion Paper: Digital Access Across Cultures

Posted on 01 February 2021

How Digital Connectivity in the Pacific can be Implemented Through a ‘Pacific Lens’ (A Priority Post Covid-19)

COVID and closed borders have changed the way we work in the development and humanitarian sector, and digital connectivity has become more than a ’nice-to-have’. It is now how communities in the Pacific keep children in education, businesses in touch with potential markets overseas, and communities connected.
Getting digital connectivity right is also key to implementing the localisation agenda. It must be understood and rolled out through a ‘Pacific lens’.
Increased, affordable internet access is not a reality for many communities in Pacific states, and yet they are more dependent on it that ever, due to COVID.
This research paper's author, Otago University’s Darrin Brinsden, has partnered with CID in this latest research into digital access in the Pacific. The findings are sobering. Digital access is patchy across the Pacific. Some countries like Vanuatu and Fiji have fast fibre optic connections. Others, like Niue and Tuvalu, have slower satellite connection via mobile phones. In some countries the cost of data is as much a barrier as the lack of up to date infrastructure.                               
But understanding this digital ’tapestry’ across the Pacific will help INGOs and donors identify weaknesses, and work out the best platform, tool or application (app) to use, country by country when engaging and rolling out programmes with partners.                                                                                                  
In the Pacific today, it is as important that digital access stays open, as it is that trade routes and access to education and support must stay open.