Superfast internet comes to Tonga

25/08/2013

With the click of a mouse, King Tupou VI of Tonga formally ushered in a new era of high speed broadband into the country at an inauguration ceremony in capital Nuku’alofa last week.

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The project, which has been in the works for a couple of years, involved linking Tonga and Fiji with an 827km long undersea fibre optic cable system. The cable system essentially links the country of 100,000 people to the trans-Pacific Southern Cross Cable that runs from Australia to the United States of America, passing through Fiji.

Part of the US$ 32.8 million Pacific Regional Connectivity Project, the high-speed cable will provide Tonga’s people and businesses with affordable, accessible, information and a range of communication technology services while greatly improving the country’s international connectivity.

A new facility, the Tonga Cable Limited building, which will house the main cable terminal at the Tongan end, has been constructed to withstand extreme weather events, with the equipment which facilitates the internet service located on the top floor in a temperature controlled environment. The World Bank Group, The Asian Development Bank, and Tonga Cable Corporation have jointly financed the project.

“The social and economic benefits of the new high speed internet service will be many,” said Adrian Ruthenberg, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office at the ceremony. “The people of Tonga will be better connected to the rest of the world, the new service will help businesses to expand, creating jobs and will facilitate access to remote health and education services.”

“The advent of high-speed internet is a landmark event for Tonga,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “The cable will make it faster and easier for Tongans to communicate which will bring profound benefits to development.”

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