SpaceX works with Fiji to restore internet in Tonga via satellites

The volcanic eruption that damaged the islands severed the only optical fiber connecting Tonga with the rest of the world.

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Starlink satellites can bring the internet to the nation.

SpaceX , Elon Musk ‘s space company , has intervened in the restoration of the internet in the nation of Tonga,  islands hit in January after the eruption of an underwater volcano that caused tsunamis and destroyed coastal cities.

Tonga ‘s only fiber optic link to the internet and the rest of the world was severed by a volcanic eruption on January 15 and only limited connectivity has been possible since then.

“A SpaceX team is now in Fiji setting up a Starlink feed station to reconnect Tonga with the world,” Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said on Twitter.

As you remember, Starlink is the satellite internet solution that Musk offers to the world. Because it works with satellites, it does not need more connections than its receiving antennas.

The timing of SpaceX ‘s work is unclear, although the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, citing Sayed-Khaiyum, said engineers would operate a ground station on its territory for six months.

Tonga recovers little by little

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano triggered a tsunami that destroyed villages and resorts and covered the nation’s capital of some 105,000 people with ash , as well as severing fiber-optic communications cable.

Any improvement in communications is likely to be a relief to Tongans who have struggled to keep in touch with relatives abroad and assist in recovery efforts that have also been hampered by the COVID-19 lockdown.