Tonga’s Five-Week Internet Blackout finally restored

Tonga Island underwater internet blackout

After a huge volcanic eruption and a destructive tsunami, the residents of Tonga are beginning to see some form of normality return after five weeks. The massive volcanic eruption tore apart the entire country’s fiber optic cable beneath the sea causing a catastrophic electricity loss and internal outage.

Digicel, one of the country’s two main ISPs, said it had restored data connectivity on Tongatapu and Eua islands after the submarine Reliance completed repairs on the 514-mile fiber optic cable connecting the South Pacific nation to Fiji and the rest of the world. According to BBC, the eruption damaged an 80-kilometer stretch of the 830-kilometer long cable. This

The fibre-optic cable is now fully operational again after being reconnected on Tuesday, said Samiuela Fonua, the chairperson at Tonga Cable Ltd, the state-owned company that owns the cable. Tonga residents can now connect to the world for the first time after such a devastating event that saw lives lost, several homes destroyed and drinking water polluted.

However not all the destroyed domestic cables inland have been restored and Tonga Cable CEO James Panuve told Reuters it could take six to nine months to complete the necessary repairs, with a cable shortage delaying the work. “We don’t have enough cable,” he said.