I write this sitting in Vanuatu at the Pacific Islands Telecom Association (PITA) annual convention. These are exciting times for the Pacific (and possibly all small island states) in terms of the opening up of new options re international data connectivity.
They are a few months into the new age of fiber connectivity. This is perhaps the smallest country to invest in a fiber cable (Fiji-Tonga). Population is 103,036. The numbers are not exact but the cable is operated by an entity with government stakes (20% or so) with the rest of the investment coming from World Bank and ADB. I am told capacity has increased eight fold. There are two access network operators. One is Digicel, operating as a regional entity.
Population is around 250,000. Their Fiji-Vanuatu cable cut over just a few months ago. Interchange is the cable operator who made the full investment. No public funding. They are planning Phase 2, to connect Solomons and then PNG. Two access operators, Digicel and Vanuatu Telecom Limited (owned by Mauritius Tel). Too early to tell effect on retail prices use, etc. But it looks like many hotels have begun to offer free WiFi to guests, departing from previous high-charge regime. Offshore Financial Center could be one reason for commercial viability. Also, it appears some French BPO business may come here from Mauritius.
First to deploy services based on O3B, a low-latency medium orbit satellite. Population was 14,974 in 2011; appears they may more tourists than residents at some times. The access network operator reports latencies in 122-150 ms range. No public funds involved. Operational for 4-5 months.
Usually, improvements in international backhaul take 2-3 years to filter into benefits to consumers. But things seem to be moving fast in these countries.