Telecommunications in the Cook Islands
Like most countries and territories in Oceania, telecommunications in the Cook Islands is limited by its isolation and low population, with only one major television broadcasting station and six radio stations. However, most residents have a main line or mobile phone. Its telecommunications are mainly provided by Telecom Cook Islands, who is currently working with O3b Networks, Ltd. for faster Internet connection.
In July 2012, there were about 7,500 main line telephones, which covers about 98% of the country's population, while there were approximately 7,800 mobile phones in 2009. Telecom Cook Islands, owned by Spark New Zealand, is the islands' main telephone system and offers international direct dialling, Internet, email, fax, and Telex. The individual islands are connected by a combination of satellite earth stations, microwave systems, and very high frequency and high frequency radiotelephone; within the islands, service is provided by small exchanges connected to subscribers by open wire, cable, and fibre optic cable. For international communication, they rely on the satellite earth station Intelsat.
In June 2010, Telecom Cook Islands partnered with O3b Networks, Ltd. to provide faster Internet connection to the Cook Islands. On 25 June 2013 the O3b satellite constellation was launched from an Arianespace Soyuz ST-B rocket in French Guinea. The medium Earth orbit satellite orbits at 8,062 kilometres (5,009 mi) and uses the Ka band. It has a latency of about 100 milliseconds because it is much closer to Earth than standard geostationary satellites, whose latencies can be over 600 milliseconds. Although the initial launch consisted of 4 satellites, as many as 20 may be launched eventually to serve various areas with little or no optical fibre service, the first of which is the Cook Islands.
In December 2015, Alcatel-Lucent and Bluesky Pacific Group announced that they would build the Moana Cable system connecting New Zealand to Hawaii with a single fibre pair branching off to the Cook Islands. The Moana Cable is expected to be completed in 2018.
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