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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (October 9, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---A study conducted in New Caledonia shows that the number of Internet subscriptions is comparatively low because the French territory's population thinks it us "not useful" and "too expensive," the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

According to the study, which was conducted by the Louis-Harris research firm, one third of the population in the greater Nouméa area has a computer, but only 12 percent are connected to the Internet.

Some 25 percent of the surveyed sample said they did not have a computer because it is "too expensive," another 25 percent said it is "not useful," and another 20 percent said they intended to buy one shortly.

Metropolitan French nationals in New Caledonia are the best equipped: 53 percent have the Internet at home.

The study concludes that this could be explained by the fact that they want to keep in touch with family and friends back in France.

The Kanak and Wallisian population, on the contrary, "are not attracted" by the new communication tool, according to the survey.

A hindering factor cited by the survey is the cost, which is perceived as too high by 48 percent of the sampled persons.

The survey, which was conducted by telephone, notes that many of the surveyed individuals do have access to the Internet at work and therefore do not see the need for a personal Internet connection.

Internet services were first introduced in New Caledonia five years ago.

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