Off The Beaten Track

Will the arrival of high-speed internet wreck St Helena's old-world charm?

Plans to bolster this remote island's internet connectivity will change tourism for better or worse, writes Simon Parker

22 December 2019 - 00:00 By Simon Parker

St Helena’s tiny capital, Jamestown, resembled a Cotswolds village in the grip of a July heatwave. Series 1 Landrovers baked in the late afternoon sun, and a cluster of exhausted construction workers supped frosty half pints on the steps of The Standard pub.

With its Anglican church, and more than 100 listed Georgian buildings, the remote settlement — some 4,023km east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,947km west of Namibia — displayed all the hallmarks of a twee British high street, but for one jarring exception: shoddy internet. As my laptop’s browser whirred with confusion, and my smartphone refreshed, then refreshed again, the sense of isolation grew, one buffering percent at a time...

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