The lack of fast and affordable Internet access in Palau is a challenge for the Island Ark Project. High costs and low speed apply to private households as much as to educational and other institutions. Although task of overcoming the challenge seemed daunting at first, we seem to have found a solution!
Together with the helpful people at the Ministry of Education of Palau – particularly Director Debbie Tkel-Sbal and Edwel (“Ed”) Ongrung, who is from the technology department of the ministry – we found that a local server may be the best bet to host our platform. It seems like the ministry is able to sponsor a server, which is connected to a wider network spanning all public schools and libraries in Palau. This connection is so much faster than the Internet at these schools, although with 768 kbps it’s not quite high-speed. Though, that bandwidth should be sufficient to connect to the island-based server and access the Island Ark Project site to upload and download pictures, short videos and other media files.
The platform can then be used by Palauans at schools, in the ministry and public libraries – without a satellite connection to the Internet. This should improve the user experience and may make the platform much more attractive than any resources on the Internet.
The content on the local Palau server at the ministry will then be synced at night to the global server of the Island Ark Project, which is located in the United States. At night, there are few problems with the bandwidth, and in the next morning, people from Taipei to Pasadena will be able to access the newly created content and view comments. This is a solid solution and until the arrival of the fiber optic undersea cable in Palau, this may be the closest we can get to fast access. The next step regarding the access challenge relates to connection of private households and other institutions to the server.
We would like to thank Director Debbie Tkel-Sbal and Ed of the Ministry of Education very much for their support so far. We hope that the Island Ark Project side provides useful content for the educational activities of the ministry.
Island Ark Team
We write this blog as a team to showcase our activities around the globe, from meetings at UNESCO in Paris to on-island research and implementation work. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey.