Tonga's submarine cable reconnects to the world

But local services remain spotty after volcanic eruption

The Kingdom of Tonga's sole submarine cable connection to the world has been restored.

The Polynesian nation's wired link to the internet was severed by the January 2022 volcanic eruption that NASA rates as having "obliterated" an island, and caused the largest volcanic plume ever recorded. The eruption also damaged cables between the Kingdom's islands.

Tonga quickly switched to wireless communications, but they proved less than ideal.

Local carrier Digicel's announcement that the cable connecting Tonga to Fiji has been restored to operation will therefore be welcome.

Digicel Tonga CEO Anthony Seuseu said repairs required more than two weeks' work, and that the carrier he leads learned "some tough lessons" that "provided the opportunity to our team to look at increased investment and network optimization to plan and prepare better for a catastrophic event of such nature in the future."

While the link between Tonga and Fiji has been restored, service has only resumed on Tongatapu – the island that houses Tonga's capital city Nuku'alofa. Other islands are still reliant on wireless connections. Seuseu said work continues on fixes for those intra-Tongan links.

In tenuously related news, Indian carrier Reliance has announced it will land a new submarine cable in the Maldives – another remote island group albeit one half a world away from Tonga. The cable will connect to India and Singapore. ®

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