A proposed local internet service provider is promising uncapped data deals to residential and commercial users.
Kuk i Net plans to provide internet using satellite broadband technology from Kacific Satellite Services.
But company chief executive officer William Framhein says customers will need to buy hardware worth $1736 in order to access their internet service.
The company also needs a service licence in order to officially start offering internet services in the country.
Bernard Hill, the chair of the Competition and Regulatory Authority, said they were working on granting Kuk i Net the service licence to operate.
Hill confirmed Framhein had approached him about the apparatus authorisations that the company needs to deploy satellite reception and transmission equipment at two locations in Rarotonga.
These would be for his radio station Matariki FM to provide its own internet, and test how well the Kacific satellite service worked here. If it was successful, Kuk i Net could offer public internet access using home satellite dishes.
Hill said he expected Kuk i Net to qualify for a licence.
William Framhein said his new company was “scoping the field”, before being granted a licence. “There are heaps of people (who are interested) and that’s just without marketing it,” he said.
“Everyone wants to know more details and I don’t want to give them anything until the licence is sorted out.”
On its website, Kuk i Net promotes “high-speed, affordable internet services with flexible plans” using geostationary satellite broadband technology manufactured by Boeing, and launched by SpaceX.
Their monthly uncapped data deals range from $300 to $5502, with differing internet speeds. Kuk i Net is also offering monthly capped plans, starting at $141.
Most plans ask for a US$1134 (NZ$1736) “one-time terminal fee”, to cover the cost of a 1.2 metre antenna, a 2510 modem and 3W transceiver.
Framhein said they would allow their customers six months to pay off the hardware cost, but the bandwidth would be paid for upfront.
Tests indicated they would be able to achieve download speeds of 75 megabits per second (Mbps). “At the moment we are hitting 60 to 65 Mbps,” he said, “a little bit of finetuning is needed to get to the desired speed.”
The company, set up by locals to cater to the connectivity needs of the Cook Islands, will connect business and residential customers on all 15 islands.
“What are we doing is going to be excellent for the outer islands as well. They have been mistreated out there with communications. At the moment they have been sharing very small bandwidth out there so this is going to help them in a big way.”
Framhein also confirmed he had met with Avaroa Cable Ltd to look into cable internet option.
Bernard Hill confirmed there were other local parties who had confidentially expressed interest in offering internet access services. “I do not expect that there will be any restriction on the number of Internet Service Provider licensees.”
For now, telecommunication company Vodafone Cook Islands is the only licensed internet service provider in the country.