Intelsat adds its own satellite services to reconnect Tonga
Intelsat is the latest satellite company to offer services to reconnect Tonga after a volcano cut subsea cables.
The company said it is now working with Telstra of Australia and Spark of New Zealand to connect Digicel Tonga and Tonga Communications.
“Communications infrastructure is essential to assisting the residents, coordinating medical staff and providing supplies, clean food and water and basic human needs,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler (pictured).
Last week Digicel said it was using SES satellites. Enterprise operator Speedcast and Vodafone also both said they were involved in providing services to Tonga following the eruption.
Spengler said: “Our hearts go out to the residents of Tonga and all impacted by this devastation, and we’re working with our partners to play a role in supporting the community in their time of need.”
The undersea volcano, Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, erupted on 15 January, 40 miles north of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa. It cut the 827km Tonga Cable, which connects the main island to Fiji, as well as the 410km Tonga Domestic Cable Extension, which runs to two outlying islands.
Cable ship Reliance, which is owned by SubCom, is on its way to Tonga, but is not expected to arrive until next Sunday, 30 January.
Intelsat said it is providing space-based broadband connectivity on Horizons 3e and Intelsat 18, while Telstra and Spark are providing the ground infrastructure, including hubs at their teleports, uplink, internet access and remote kits.
Intelsat is also providing services in conjunction with Optus, owned by Singapore’s Singtel, to the New Zealand Defence Force, in order to provide humanitarian support in Tonga.