February 19, 2022
Musk donates satellite gear to reconnect Tonga
Tonga says space entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk has donated 50 satellite terminals to help the volcano-damaged Pacific island reconnect with the world.
Musk's Space X corporation is providing 50 very-small-aperture terminals (VSAT) "and we are looking at how we can best utilize it," Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said Friday.
The tiny South Pacific kingdom was also considering offers to increase Tonga's internet capacity, which has been operating on a very small bandwidth since the cable was broken.
"It's something we are testing right now," he said.
Technical staff from SpaceX and the Tonga Government were working on installing the equipment to have it operational from next week.
The volcanic eruption, so powerful it was heard as far away as Alaska and triggered a tsunami that flooded coastlines around the Pacific, shredded an 80-kilometre (50 miles) stretch of Tonga's undersea telecommunications cable.
Sovaleni said he expected temporary repairs to be completed early next week.
© 2022 AFP