Elon Musk offers Starlink terminals to Tonga - Mobile World Live

Elon Musk offers Starlink terminals to Tonga

21 JAN 2022

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of SpaceX and its satellite internet provider Starlink, took to Twitter to offer support to Tonga after communications in the South Pacific archipelago were knocked out by a series of natural disasters.

The eruption of an underwater volcano and resulting tsunami last week caused two breaks in key subsea cables providing internet and other communications to Tonga.

Responding to a Reuters report stating the internet outage could last for around a month, Musk took to Twitter to ask citizens if they want SpaceX to provide Starlink terminals.

The news agency reported difficulties in repairing the 827km Tonga Cable, which connects the archipelago to Fiji and international networks. Operator Digicel Tonga stated there is also a break in a domestic cable, close to the origin of the volcanic eruption.

However, Musk also noted difficulties in providing satellite coverage in the area, hence his call for “clear confirmation”.

Rival satellite service provider SES apparently has no such difficulties: yesterday (20 January) it asserted an instrumental role in helping Digicel Tonga restore international calling capabilities.

The operator previously stated its mobile network was operational on Tongatapu, the archipelago’s main island.

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Anne Morris

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist and contributes news and analysis to Mobile World Live.

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