As we’ve made our way across the Pacific stopping in islands from the Galapagos to French Polynesia, Nuie, Tonga and New Zealand we’ve been mostly disappointed at the unreliable internet service and slow speeds. We’ve tried purchasing 3G SIM cards, Wifi access vouchers and using ’free wifi’ at local bars and restaurants. The quality of the connections have been mostly good enough for basic email, being able to download some grib files and keeping this weblog updated and not much else.
Even in NZ, we were disappointed at the speeds and availability of internet service (except if you anchor off Russell in the Bay of Islands and can access the IAC Campgrounds internet at 80GB for NZ$45.00!). So, when planning for Fiji this season we expected to not have good communications and poor internet as well. To our surprise, Fiji has been one of the best places for speed, availability and low cost.
For example, we routinely come back to anchor off Vuda Marina as it has a nice restaurant; a place to fill up our gasoline jugs for our tender and… charges us FJ$5.00 (€2.50) for 24 hours of high speed internet which we can easily connect to using our new NanStation M2 booster. Likewise in Port Denarau marina we get good internet although it’s more expensive (€9.00/day).
However when traveling outside the mainland to the Yasawa Islands we’ve been able to get great coverage with our Digicel SIM and use the ‘tethering’ feature of the iPhone to connect to our laptops and iPads. The price is amazing as we are on a plan for FJ$30/month (€15.00) for 3.5GB of data download. We also have a plan for FJ$4.50/week for 750MB of data and free SMS and calls to other Digicel phones. The 750MB rolls over each week so you don’t lose it.
In reading Noonsite we saw many reference to people saying that Vodafone had the best coverage in Fiji and we assumed it was still true however most every local person we talked to says Digicel is the new champ on the block and has the best coverage all over Fiji. So far we can agree as there’s nowhere we’ve been without an excellent (at least 4 bar) signal strength. It’s been especially nice to have a remote anchorage all to yourself and still have a great 3G signal for internet.
As beautiful as Fiji is, this is truly an unexpected bonus to spending time here. Be sure to get a good WiFi booster and a 3G/4G Router before you come and you’ll appreciate as much as we do how they’ve got such great internet!
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