Niue Broadcasting was reportedly ordered by the government of the South Pacific island Niue – located 1,490 miles off the coast of New Zealand – to remove two Rocket System’s antennae sited on the broadcaster’s towers, Radio New Zealand writes. Rocket’s founder Emani Lui said that the impact of the new order will be profound: ‘They will just cut off three quarters of our users, which is basically three quarters of the whole island. There will only be three sites available to some of the users, but the rest of them will all go offline.’ Privately-owned Rocket Systems was shut down by the Niue Government in April last year, arguably due to the company’s decision to start charging NZD25 (USD17.9) for a Wi-Fi service that was previously free. After a public outcry, however, the company was allowed to restore services and negotiate with the government to resolve matters. The executive went on to say: ‘There really hasn’t been any resolution to that fiasco that happened last year … There are two providers with limited users, economically it can’t happen, so one has to go or both will be reduced to the bare minimum, I guess. And our services are the cheaper of the two.’
TeleGeography notes that the tiny island of Niue (with population of 1,700) depends on satellite connections for internet access. The entire territory was covered by a free Wi-Fi network (operating in the 900MHz band) in July 2003 by the nation’s Internet Users Society charity group, with the Wi-Fi network – marketed under the Internet Niue brand – subsequently acquired by Rocket System. Following the government’s decision to employ the 900MHz band for its mobile network (operated by state-owned Telecom Niue), the two sides have been in discussion to reduce interference in the band.