Tonga’s internet cable failure impacts small business

Joanna Bourke, Executive Creative Director of CocoNew – The Agency in Tonga flew to Auckland last weekend to get internet access and keep her business going. 

Joanna Bourke.

Radio New Zealand reported Tonga has had no internet and phone connection since last Sunday week when the Tonga Cable linking it with Fiji was cut.  A second cable to the outer islands was also cut.

“I had to fly back to New Zealand, because as a small business we do not have priority,” she said.

Ms Bourke said limited access was available to Government officials, departments and large private sector businesses for mobile phone and emails.  But small businesses such as hers, have no such luck.  She said although estimates vary of when full access to the internet would be available, she believed it could be a week or more before full access to the internet is resumed once the cable is repaired.

CocoNew – The Agency is a brand development and marketing communications agency delivering marketing assistance and strategy and tactical campaigns – (CocoNew – The Agency, Facebook).

Ms Bourke who was interviewed by Pacific Periscope said the situation had been tough on her and similar small businesses because the break in the cable also affected her phone access.

“A majority of Tonga’s businesses are small businesses and im sure some have lost subsequent orders or work due to this” she said because they don’t have access to the internet.

Ms Bourke reported losing a big contract from the US because they weren’t aware Tonga had no internet access and she couldn’t call or email them to let them know.

“It’s so frustrating they don’t think about small business,” she said.

An estimated 80% of internet traffic in Tonga is via social media.  Some of Tonga’s small businesses rely on their social media for business.

A repair vessel arrived in Nuku’alofa on Monday and is due to start repairs that could take a week or more to complete.

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