Christmas Island Internet Services

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Number: D7/2017

Date: 24 February 2017

Relevant: Christmas Island

Topic: Christmas Island Internet Services

Mr Garth Miller of the Christmas Island Internet Administration Limited (CiiA) (NZ Business Number: 9429041399538) has advised the Christmas Island community this week that CiiA will cease providing all internet services to Christmas Island from 1 March 2017 if its complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is unsuccessful. The Department is not aware of the outcome of this complaint.

The Department is concerned at CiiA's statements of withdrawing with only 7 days' notice to the Christmas Island community, businesses and government entities.

The internet is critical to the needs of community members and businesses, as well as many essential community services such as air services, education, airport operations, power and health services. Over the last two years, the Department has provided significant financial and in-kind support to CiiA to ensure the viability and availability of internet services to all users on Christmas Island including residents, businesses and government entities.

After learning of CiiA's intentions to pull out of the market at short notice, the Department has again contacted CiiA seeking to discuss options to support CiiA providing internet on Christmas Island during the introduction of the NBN Sky Muster Satellite Service. CiiA has advised: “If the ACCC does not intervene or no other roadmap can be found to keep those services available, CiiA will withdraw from the market March 1st".

The Department, as a priority, is investigating options for the continuation of internet services while the NBN is rolling out. The Department is also in contact with nbn Co to discuss options to accelerate the implementation of the NBN installations on Christmas Island and provide internet in public spaces accessible to the community.

The NBN is being successfully rolled out across remote communities around Australia. Other remote islands have been able to manage and/or support the introduction of the NBN, including the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Lord Howe Island. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands roll out is largely complete, and I understand there are now around only eight premises awaiting an NBN installation.

The Department remains open to providing financial support to CiiA to ensure the Christmas Island community continues to have access to the internet and the essential services that the internet supports. We encourage CiiA to reconsider the Department's offer of support for internet services on Christmas Island during the introduction of the NBN.

I look forward to providing you with progress updates on this matter.

Karly Pidgeon
General Manager
Indian Ocean Territories Branch