Tonga reconnects to internet after volcano eruption


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Full internet access has been restored in Tonga five weeks after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai undersea volcano , local media reports said on Tuesday.

Residents were able to connect with the digital world on the main island of Tongatapu and the island of Eua.

“People on the main island will have access almost immediately,” Tonga Cable chief executive James Panuve told Reuters.

The tiny South Pacific kingdom’s undersea fiber-optic cable, which is used to transmit almost all digital information and was damaged in the seaquake, has been repaired.

Tongans had to use makeshift satellite services as the repairs to the cable were made.

Repair ship Reliance took 20 days to replace the 92-kilometre (57-mile) section of the 827 km cable that connects the island nation to Fiji and other international networks.

“Thanks optic fiber internet. We can now see the world,” news portal Kaniva Tonga quoted local resident Paulo Lātu’s post on Facebook.

The eruption that took place late in January,  triggered a tsunami that reached as far as Alaska, Japan and South America.

The Tongan government had said that  84% of its population of nearly 105,000 people was affected by what experts have deemed one of the world’s worst volcanic eruptions in decades.

The next task is to repair the domestic cable connecting Tongatapu with the outer islands
that bore the brunt of the tsunami, Panuve said, adding that it could take six to nine
months.

“We don’t have enough cable,” he said.

dvv/rt (Reuters, dpa)


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