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International cable between Tonga and Fiji repaired sees Digicel say data fully restored

International portion of the Tonga Cable System is back, while the domestic part is still down.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Digicel

A little over a month since a volcanic eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai occurred, and Tongan connectivity was cut off from the outside world, the part of the Tonga Cable System linking the nation to Fiji has been restored.

The cable suffered a pair of cuts, one 37km offshore on the international line, and another on the domestic cable much closer to the volcano. Last week, Matangi Tonga Online described the cable as blown to bits over an 80km stretch as the repair ship CS Reliance tracked down the two ends of the cable.

By Tuesday, the international part of the cable was back, allowing Digicel to say it had fully restored data connectivity on Tongatapu and Eua.

"We have learnt some tough lessons and we know how important internet connection is to our people," Digicel Tonga CEO Anthony Seuseu said.

"The recent incident has also provided the opportunity to our team to look at increased investment and network optimisation to plan and prepare better for a catastrophic event of such nature in the future."

Without the domestic cable connectivity, communication in Vava'u is still down, with Digicel adding it hopes to get it back this week with a satellite link. It has such a link on Ha'apai Island.

At the end of last month, Digicel said Australia's Telstra and New Zealand's Spark helped with satellite hardware and terminals that use Intelsat to restore intermittent data service to the nation, while SES helped Digicel restore international calls.

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