Tonga’s domestic submarine cable system connecting Vavaú and Haápai Islands has been successfully repaired and restored for service, effective from Wednesday, 12 July
This follows damage it suffered during the volcanic eruption and tsunami in January 2022.
This has been confirmed by the Tonga Cable Limited CEO, James Panuve, and the Department of Communications under the Ministry of MEIDECC.
The repair was conducted by vessel CS Lodbrog, owned by Alcatel Submarine Network (ASN) and Optic Marine (OMS).
Work on the repair work started on 05 July 2023 when the CS Lodbrog arrived into Tonga waters.
Local representatives, Siumafua Moala, the Engineer from TCL and Stan Ahio, Senior Engineer from Ministry of MEIDECC joined the repair team.
Work was completed in eight days.
The Ministry of MEIDECC and Tonga Cable confirmed that the start of repair works took 18 months due to the unique type of the cable used, its delivery to Tonga and the availability of the cable repair vessel.
This unique type of cable was manufactured in France for 7 months following the confirmation of order from Tonga and had to be shipped to Samoa, where the cable warehouse is stored.
The cable repair vessel then picked the cable up from Samoa before heading to Tonga.
“It is a relieve for the country and telecom carriers that the submarine cable system repair has been completed so all telecom services are back to normal due to the fact that the demand from the public exceed the capacity the satellite can cater for. Several speed tests were performed by the Ministry at these islands and showing great results,” Prime Minister and Minister for Communications Huakavameiliku, Siaosi Sovaleni commented.
The completion of the repair service allows the local network operators providing telecommunication services to these islands to resume and divert back it’s backhaul services from satellite to the submarine cable.
“The public may experience some ups and downs for first couple of days while the local network operators work on fully migrating the traffic to the cable but I can assure it won’t last long,” according to the Acting CEO for MEIDECC, Paula Ma’u. The costs of the repair were supported by the Government of Tonga and the Government of Australia.