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Tonga recovers internet connection a little over a month after the volcano exploded

Tonga made international news in January due to the shocking explosion of the volcano, a natural catastrophe that was felt in different parts of the world. And among so many consequences that this event had, one of the most problematic for the country was the total cut off of telecommunications; but fortunately this is being resolved and the territory has now regained internet access.

According to Digicel, one of Tonga's main communications companies, the archipelago was reconnected to the world after repairing the submarine cable damaged by the eruption. According to the announcement, the work carried out in recent weeks has allowed Tongatapu, the main Tongan island, to reconnect with Fiji and to have internet service again.

The ship used for the repairs had to work for 20 days to change the damaged fiber optic section. Let us remember that, in addition to the logistical problems that the team had to face —not only because of the long trip from Papua New Guinea, but also because of the volcanic activity and the possibility of aftershocks—, the magnitude of the rupture that had to be solved was unknown. .

Finally, the specialists replaced a 92-kilometer section of the submarine cable, whose total length exceeds 820 kilometers. But beyond the difficulty of the work, the forecast that the lack of connectivity would last approximately a month ended up being fulfilled.

Tonga has already reconnected with the world, but still problems remain to be solved

The explosion of the Tonga volcano. Beyond having successfully passed this first part of the process to regain connectivity, Tonga still has a long way to go. As James Panuve, CEO of Tonga Cable, explained to Reuters, although the main island already has internet access, work still needs to be done to reconnect the other territories that are part of the archipelago; and it is not an easy task.

According to the manager, they do not have enough cables to restore domestic connectivity. This will force them to work for the next six to nine months to reassemble the necessary infrastructure. For their part, Digicel has mentioned that they have already established a satellite link with Ha'apai, and that this week they hope to do the same with Vava'u.

What is still unknown is whether Elon Musk and Starlink will continue to accompany the restoration of the internet connection in Tonga. Let us remember that the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX requested information to find out if their satellite internet platform could be useful on the island; while weeks ago Starlink technicians would have helped establish temporary connections for government agencies.

Meanwhile, Anthony Seuseu, CEO of Digicel Tonga, stated that the company will analyze more investments to face other similar scenarios that may occur in the future. “We have learned some hard lessons and know how important internet connection is to our people. The recent incident has also provided our team with the opportunity to seek further investment and optimization of the network to better plan and prepare for an event.” such a catastrophic event in the future”, he indicated.