Elon Musk’s satellite company SpaceX is aiding the effort to restore telecommunications to the island nation of Tonga after the country was struck by the after-effects of a volcanic eruption.
Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum posted on social media today (February 7) the SpaceX team is in Fiji to set up a Starlink gateway station to reconnect Tonga, reported Reuters. Starlink is a division of SpaceX and is tasked with launching satellites and delivering high-speed broadband.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption destroyed Tonga’s only fibre optic cable connecting to the internet and the rest of the world was greatly damaged by the eruption on Jan 15. It also caused a tsunami that destroyed villages and coated the capital city Nuku'alofa in ash.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk offered assistance on Twitter last month by sending Starlink terminals to the island. International calling returned to the nation last month, confirmed by Digicel, but only 400 calls could be made at one time.
SpaceX joined a host of companies offering assistance to Tonga. Intelsat joined with Australian operator Telstra and New Zealand operator Spark to deploy emergency communications to support aid workers.