I am in the South Pacific. I have been here for two weeks. I was in New Caledonia, now I am in French Polynesia. I also think this is the longest time I have been without internet, without using a computer, without writing e mails or surfing since 1994.
New Caledonia and Tahiti belong to France, they are French Territories, to use their terminology, Territoires de Autre Mer. And in many respects they are like France, their GDP per capita is like that of France, their cars are like those of France, their bread is fortunately like that of France, but there´s however one susbtantial difference that accounts for the fact that there´s practically no internet access here and that is that France is in the European Union and the European Union forced France Telecom to compete while in New Caledonia and Tahiti there´s no competition in telecoms, and it shows. Monopoly telecom services are incredibly poor. I should know. I built Viatel to fight monopolies and being here only makes me happier that I did so. In a monopoly world mobile phone services are pathetic. In New Caledonia there was no roaming for Vodafone and even after I acquired a local sim card I found that there was no GPRR service and that sms worked received mode only (my replies appeared as sent but never arrived at their destination). In Tahiti things were only slightly better. My Vodafone Blackberry worked, but only as a GSM phone, no e mail. I could send and receive hugely expensive sms. Surprisingly when I bought a local VINI (name of the local operator number here) phone number to try it out, I could again only receive and not send international sms. And as far as the internet goes, things are awful over here.
In the French territories you can fly modern planes, you can rent boats, helicopters, drive the
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