Communication with island group Tonga is almost flat due to broken sea cable

Spread the love

The sea cable connecting the Tonga archipelago with the outside world was damaged by last Saturday’s submarine volcanic eruption. The repair is likely to take weeks. Both internet and telephony are via cable.

During a major submarine volcanic eruption In the Pacific Ocean last Saturday, a rupture in the 827-kilometer-long sea cable between Tonga and Fiji. That fault is located 37 kilometers off the coast of Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. Tonga Cable, the company that manages the cable, says that to New Zealand news sites Stuff and NZ Herald, among others.

The fiber optic cable provides all communication between Tonga and the rest of the world. International telephony and the internet are currently only possible via satellite connections, but this is currently made more difficult by ash clouds. Digicel Pacific, the provider that operates the mobile phone network in Tonga, says the satellite connection will only be available to ‘essential services and the government’.

SubCom Reliance, the vessel that will perform the repair

Repairing the break could take weeks. That takes a long time, because the necessary repair ship is not nearby, but also because the conditions under sea have to be investigated. The rupture occurred near the volcanic eruption, which could complicate work and there is still a risk of aftershocks.

At the beginning of 2019, the sea cable also broke. Then the break was caused by an anchor of a ship. At the time, it took two weeks to repair the cable. The repair was then performed by SubCom and that same company will do it again now.

Tonga is an archipelago in Polynesia and consists of 177 islands, 36 of which are inhabited. The kingdom is about 700km from Fiji and about 2000km from New Zealand. Tonga has about 106,000 inhabitants.

SubCom promotional video about repairing marine cables

You might also like