A study was carried out at the University of the South Pacific to identify the frequency and type of use of the internet by academics at the university within specified disciplines; record perceptions of these users towards the internet, together with other demographic data, in order to identify barriers to the effective or more effective use of the internet and determine whether, as a means of overcoming the deficiency of distance, more use is made of the internet by academics at universities that are geographically isolated than by academics who are in large metropolitan areas. Questionnaires were sent out to academics at the university's three campuses and 12 centres located in 12 countries in the Pacific. A total of 143 (52.8%) was returned, from all campuses and six centres. Data were analysed in 2000 and the findings and recommendations presented in a report in 2001. This paper presents the background to the study, including the state of telecommunications and the internet in the South Pacific at the time. The findings are summarised and the recommendations made in respect of access to the internet, training and IT support services are discussed. The progress made in recent years towards addressing the recommendations is described, and some conclusions relevant to academic libraries in developing countries are drawn.