Satellite operators Intelsat, SES, and Kacific come to the rescue of connectivity needs of Tonga, a devastated South Pacific nation after the massive Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcanic eruption.
Intelsat, in cooperation with Telstra and Spark, deployed emergency communications services to support humanitarian aid to Tonga and the archipelago for Digicel Tonga and Tonga Communications Corporation. Intelsat is providing space-based broadband connectivity on Horizons 3e and Intelsat 18, while its partners are providing the ground infrastructure, including VSAT hubs at their teleports, uplink, internet access, and remote kits.
“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. “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.”
On the other hand, Tonga residents were able to make their first international calls using the SES’ C-band capacity. Both SES and Digicel teams are working on restoring more vital communications services in the coming days.
John Turnbull, director of Pacific Region at SES, said, “SES and Digicel have a long history of providing multi-orbit capacity into key Pacific markets, and our partnership enabled the first communication services out of Tonga. Our thoughts are with the residents of Tonga as we continue to work relentlessly to increase connectivity to the nation.”
In addition, Kacific has been offering more than 1Gbps of satellite capacity to Tonga’s telecom operators and service providers since last Friday, after being authorized to provide communications services to Tonga by the local government.
“We’re extremely pleased that we have now been able to resolve the impasse in providing connectivity,’ says Kacific CEO, Christian Patouraux. “We have many friends and partners in Tonga who are aware that we understand and deeply sympathize with the difficulties they have been facing. Their efforts have helped us secure the approvals we needed to provide this essential service.”