NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – The World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Tonga Cable Limited (TCL), media, and others joined the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga at a ceremony today to celebrate the landing of the fiber optic cable in Tongatapu.
The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony which marked the arrival of the cable on Tonga’s main island.
The $34 million Pacific Regional Connectivity Project, which is financing the development of the submarine cable system is being supported by the World Bank Group, ADB, and TCL.
The 827 km 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 high-speed internet services the cable will bring will effectively change the economic landscape of the Pacific, improve the delivery of health and education services and help businesses expand, creating jobs,” said Adrian Ruthenberg, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office.
“This is an exciting time for Tonga and for the Pacific,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “The new cable will make communications faster and cheaper, with huge gains for families and businesses in Tonga.”
The cable’s arrival is the latest milestone of the project which will boost Tonga’s international connectivity, providing widespread social and economic benefits to the people of Tonga.
The high-speed internet services will be officially launched by the Government in early July 2013.
Tonga is the first Pacific Island Country to connect to the cable under the program, which is being funded through grants of $17.2 million from the World Bank, $9.7 million from ADB and a $6.6 million investment from TCL.