NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Tonga Cable Corporation (TCC), and World Bank Group joined the Government of Tonga at a ceremony today to celebrate the arrival of high speed internet in Tonga.
“The social and economic benefits of the new high speed internet service will be many,” Adrian Ruthenberg, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office, said at the ceremony. “The people of Tonga will be better connected to the rest of the world. The new service will help businesses to expand and create jobs, and will facilitate access to remote health and education services.”
At the ceremony, the King of Tonga, Tupou VI, officially commissioned the service by clicking a mouse delivering high speed internet.
"Today marks a historical occasion for Tonga and the beginning of a new era as the Kingdom for the first time connects to high speed Internet, which has been a dream of Ha'a Moheofo. Faster Internet speed and higher bandwidth at cheaper and more affordable prices is a real opportunity for Tonga,” said Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano.
The 827km fiber optic cable system linking Tonga to Fiji via the Southern Cross Cable – the main trans-Pacific link between Australia and the United States – will provide Tonga’s population of 100,000 with affordable, accessible, information and communication technology services.
“The advent of highspeed internet is a landmark event for Tonga,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “The cable will make it faster and easier for Tongans to communicate, which will bring profound benefits for development.”
The $32.8 million Pacific Regional Connectivity Project, financed by ADB, TCC and World Bank Group, supported the development of a submarine cable system, which is now delivering broadband service. This is the latest milestone of the project, which will boost Tonga’s international connectivity.
The Tonga Cable Limited building was constructed to withstand extreme weather events and the equipment which facilitates the internet service is stored on the top floor in a temperature-controlled room in case of flooding. There is a back-up generator in case of power failure.