Wednesday, September 27

Tonga has been cut off from the world: the volcanic eruption has damaged its only submarine cable

The powerful eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga caused a major disaster. So far, the event has left 3 fatalities, an undetermined number of injured people and significant material damage.

Added to this difficult situation is the fact that the country is partially incommunicado. It is that a section of the submarine fiber optic cable that connects it with the world has been damaged and your repair could take at least two weeks.

Communication, complicated even by satellite

The Tongan government said this Tuesday that the country’s national and international communications were cut off after the volcano erupted, on January 15, and are currently working to restore them.

Two communication operatorss are working on satellite options to restore some services, including internet,” says the first official update on the situation after the Tonga volcano eruption.

The authorities indicate that communication is currently possible but restricted to satellite phones, which may have problems connecting due to the ash cloud, and high frequency radio (banda HF).

One of the operators, Digicel, has managed to provide limited 2G connectivity thanks to a temporary link between Tongatap Island and Fiji using a satellite dish located at the University of the South Pacific.

According Reuters, the repair of the damaged fiber optic cable, which stretches 827 kilometers from Tonga to Fiji, depends on the arrival of a specialized ship from Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.

“As usual, if everything goes fine, [la reparación] it would take about two weeks“says Craige Sloots, an executive at Southern Cross Cable Network, a company specializing in the operation of communications cable networks.

However, restoration of internet service could take even longer if volcanic activity prevents crews from working safely in the area. At the moment, everything seems to indicate that the cable break is about 37 kilometers off the coast of Tonga.

The situation highlights the dependence on submarine fiber optic cables. Much of the Internet’s traffic is carried through a network of 280 of them, stretching deep into 1.3 million kilometers.

Images | Southern Cross Cable Network

In Xataka | This is how the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, the underwater volcano that has caused a tsunami in the Pacific, was seen from space