Tonga’s high speed internet is set to go live on next week, with the commissioning of the project at the Tonga Cable station in Sopu by King Tupou VI scheduled to take place on 21 August. According to Islands Business, which cites Tonga Cable’s managing director Robert Bolouri, Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC) is, however, the only internet service provider (ISP) to have signed up for access to the fibre-optic cable so far. Mr Bolouri did though say he hoped that Tonga’s other commercial internet provider Digicel would ink a deal with Tonga Cable soon.
Commenting on the benefits of the cable, the executive noted: ‘We have about 620Mbps available right now to sell and only a portion of that is sold to TCC. There is room for immediate expansion and the cable itself is designed for 320Gbps, but we are only using and have lit 10G right now, because that is a huge amount and more than sufficient for our needs in Tonga.’ Further, he added: ‘This is the speed you are going to get from here but what speed are customers going to get at the other end depends on the service providers and the amount of capacity that they subscribe to, it’s up them.’
With Tonga Cable having taken over the cable system from the contractor on 31 July 2013, it is understood that the link has already been tested ahead of the launch of commercial services next week. The fibre-optic cable will connect Tonga’s internet traffic to Fiji and onward to a hub in Sydney at Equinix data centre. The project cost approximately USD25 million, lower than the initial budget of USD33 million, of which USD6.6 million was committed by TCC and USD26.4 million was to be provided by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. Tonga Cable Ltd. meanwhile became a Public Enterprise on 10 May 2013, with TCC holding close to 20%, while the remaining 80% is held by the Tongan government.