WORLD NEWS

Tonga’s internet finally restored 5 weeks after big eruption

Feb 22, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:39 pm
Image shows ashfall on Nuku’alofa airport runway. (New Zealand Defense Force/Facebook)...
Image shows ashfall on Nuku’alofa airport runway. (New Zealand Defense Force/Facebook)
(New Zealand Defense Force/Facebook)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Tonga’s main internet connection to the rest of the world has finally been restored more than five weeks after a huge volcanic eruption and tsunami severed a crucial undersea cable.

Three people in Tonga were killed by the Jan. 15 tsunami, dozens of homes were destroyed and drinking water was tainted.

The fiber-optic cable is now fully operational again after being reconnected Tuesday, said Samiuela Fonua, the chairperson at Tonga Cable Ltd., the state-owned company that owns the cable.

“It’s a huge relief when you know things have come to the end and are working well,” Fonua told The Associated Press. “It’s one step forward for the country.”

Fonua said the crew aboard a repair ship replaced about 90 kilometers (56 miles) of cable that had been damaged by the tsunami. His company didn’t have enough spare cable, Fonua added, and needed to borrow some from other companies.

The fix means that Tonga Cable can now focus on repairing a second severed cable that connects some of the outer islands to the main island, Fonua said. That cable runs close to the undersea volcano.

Fonua said that entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company had also been helping restore connections through its network of low-orbit satellites called Starlink.

Fonua said his company had been testing the satellite connections this week and they had been working well. He said that now the main cable was restored, he hoped the SpaceX connections could be used for reconnecting people on some of the outer islands.

Officials in neighboring Fiji said SpaceX had established a station there to help restore connections in Tonga.

Tonga has also been grappling with its first outbreak of the coronavirus, which may have been brought in by foreign military crews aboard ships and planes delivering vital aid after the eruption.

The outbreak has grown to more than 250 cases but so far there have been no reported deaths. The country of 105,000 has begun easing some virus restrictions after initially imposing a lockdown.

Tongan health officials say that 90% of people aged 12 and over have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

A Yanomami youth carries a toddler on his shoulders at the Saude Indigenous House, a center respons...
Eleoneore Hughes and Edmar Barros, Associated Press

Why Brazil’s Yanomami are being decimated by disease, mining

Severe malnutrition and disease, particularly malaria, are decimating the Yanomami population in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, and on Jan. 20 the federal government declared a public health emergency.
16 hours ago
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tours a neighborhood in Kharkiv ...
Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Russian attacks on Ukraine reported; tank training to start

Ukrainian officials say Russia has launched a new wave of missile and self-exploding drone attacks on the country.
2 days ago
woman leans off skyscraper for video content...
Larry D. Curtis

Sundance: ‘Fantastic Machine’ entertains while examining relationship between humans and camera

While the Utah's political leaders grapple with laws to combat the dangers of social media, Utah's Sundance Film Festival premiered "Fantastic Machine," turning the camera lens not only the camera but what it has meant to humans — spoiler: it has drastically changed us.
3 days ago
U.S. M1/A1 Abrams tanks...
TARA COPP and LOLITA BALDOR Associated Press

Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

For months, U.S. officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.
3 days ago
This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, aff...
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

Asteroid coming exceedingly close to Earth, but will miss

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest encounters ever recorded.
3 days ago
Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov, the director/producer/cinematographer of "20 Da...
Lindsey Bahr, Film Writer

Sundance: Horrors of war illuminated in ’20 Days in Mariupol’ doc

Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov had just broken out of Mariupol after covering the first 20 days of the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian city and was feeling guilty about leaving. He and his colleagues were the last journalists there.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Tonga’s internet finally restored 5 weeks after big eruption