So we’ve been working on getting our internet set up for a few weeks now. Like so many other people say, things move slowly on the island (well, everything but the drivers). ADSL is the option you have here for internet and it actually isn’t so bad speed-wise if you pay enough. The difficult part is that you need to deal with both OPT (the phone company) and your ISP of choice (L@goon, autile, Can’L, MLS, etc.) and each have their own issues.
The steps to set up the internet go something like this:
1. Get a phone
For this part, we had a French speaking individual help us at the post office (OPT). You need to set an appointment for this one. You’ll have to present some verification of residence, a paper with your New Caledonia bank account info for direct withdrawal, and some ID. It costs about 1200 XPF per month plus 10000 XPF installation fee for a basic phone line. You also need to have a physical landline handset to activate your line – it isn’t possible to activate via another phone. It took a few days before our phone actually got activated. Patience.
2. Subscribe to OPTimo
OPTimo is basically signing up for the privilege of OPT to let you have ADSL on your phone line. You need to subscribe to this no matter which ISP you choose and most of them don’t really tell you that it’s going to be added on when they advertise their prices. It ends up being about 2600 XPF per month. This is a matter of filling out another OPT form and waiting for OPT to press the button on their end. It took a good 10 days from the time we sent in the request till the day the button got pressed and we had ADSL capability.
3. Subscribe to an ISP
There are several ISPs here in Noumea and most have very similar prices. The largest is L@goon which boasts unlimited data usage for all plans. The plans differ based on the maximum speed possible. As far as I can tell, all of the other providers have bandwidth caps. We went with Nautile mainly because of word-of-mouth and their website seems the most up-to-date and easy to navigate. All of their plans provide the maximum speed available on the island (16 Mbps) but have monthly bandwidth caps. The bandwidth caps don’t apply during midnight and 6am so we’ll be scheduling big downloads during those times. It’s a different experience watching our internet consumption much like it is with a non-unlimited phone plan but so far so good. Nautile also provides a web page that shows you how much data you’ve used in 4 hour chunks so that is very helpful.
All in all, things have been ok with the internet although our VoIP phone (included with Nautile with free calls to the states) seems to kill our connection when we try to make early morning calls… we’ll see if its just a glitch this morning or if its a common problem…
All in all the process took about a month… You have to deal face-to-face with pretty much every step and usually more than once for each step along the way. You need a trip/call to set your OPT appointment, show up for the appointment, go to your ISP to get the OPTimo started and fill out paperwork, and then return to them once OPT presses the button to get your modem and login info.
Patience is key when dealing with services here.