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Anger Over Fijian Internet Failure

SUVA: The search for a consistent international Internet supplier for the Fiji Islands is underway following major disruptions in the service since December, the Fiji Times reports.

The American-based MCI WorldCom provides the Internet to Telecom Fiji Ltd via Fiji International Telecommunications Ltd (FINTEL).

The service completely shut down on Tuesday and was not restored until 1pm yesterday.

FINTEL manager operations Jone Wesele said the disruptions had forced FINTEL to look for another supplier closer to Fiji.

A statement issued earlier in the day said: "FINTEL wishes to put on the record that the current problems are not with Telecom Fiji of FINTEL but lie beyond our shores at the local Internet services provider in the USA.

"Our engineers have been working day and night to try and restore the services but are at the mercy of the distant carriers."

Yesterday, The Fiji Times was unable to get a comment from MCI WorldCom in the US.

Although there's a one-year agreement in place, Wesele said the disruptions had forced FINTEL to look elsewhere to ensure a more consistent supply to consumers.

He said the time difference was also a problem because the company was usually closed for business during the disruption periods.

He added that sometimes the American and European systems were not compatible, causing more problems.

Wesele said it would take two to three months to finalise arrangements with a new supplier and asked Internet users to bear with them.

Fiji Retailers Association president Himmat Lodhia said the disruptions and system shutdown had affected business.

He said he had been unable to get current world gold prices nor deal with his international suppliers.

"I'm dependent on the Internet for my business. So when there are disruptions, my business is affected," he added.

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