Tsunami-damaged undersea cable repaired in Tonga

2022-02-22 18:23:34Xinhua Editor : Hao Yunhui ECNS App Download

The undersea fibre-optic cable in Tonga, damaged by the volcanic eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai and the subsequent tsunami in January this year, has been repaired with the country's phone and internet service fully restored on Tuesday.

According to Radio New Zealand, Chairman of Tonga Cable Ltd Samiuela Fonua confirmed that the cable was restored and handed over to his company just before midday on Tuesday.

"It is all done now, the cable was handed over to us this morning just before noon, now it's with the Internet Service Providers," he said.

He added that they just had a long meeting with the cable repair team and they were preparing a presentation to Tonga's Prime Minster Siaosi Sovaleni on Wednesday.

The cable repair ship Reliance started to repair the cable on Feb. 3 and finally handed it over after 24 hours of testing on Monday.

Fonua said he would not know the costs of the cable repair until his company received the invoice from the U.S. cable company Subcom, but he estimated it will cost at least 1 million U.S. dollars.

Digicel Tonga has also confirmed that all its customers in the island nation are now connected to the outside world as data connectivity has been restored after undersea cable repairs, according to Fijivillage news website.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Tonga told Xinhua that a text from Tonga Communication Corporation (TCC) confirmed later Tuesday afternoon that the corporation is restoring the fibre cable internet services and it is committed to bringing full services to the island nation.

"This process will be progressive over the next 24 hours, covering Tongatapu, the main island, and Eua, an island close to Tongatapu. Other islands will remain on satellite. Customers may experience disruptions during this process," the TCC said.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, about 65 km north of Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa, violently erupted on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, causing an estimated 90.4 million dollars in damages in Tonga, which is equivalent to about 18.5 percent of the island nation's gross domestic product, a World Bank Tongan disaster assessment report has said.

Tonga's communication with the outside world has since been cut off after the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami last month.

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