Musk’s Starlink could provide permanent internet solution to some islands in Tonga

A team of workers from Elon Musk’s SpaceX are in Fiji trying to restore full internet communications in Tonga, with a Starlink broadband connection.

A view of an area of ​​Tonga which shows the heavy fall of ash from the recent volcanic eruption in the Tonga Islands.
Photo: Supplied / New Zealand Defense Force

Starlink uses satellites to connect remote areas to the Internet.

It came 25 days after Tonga lost all communications when its Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted, severing its undersea cable.

Gorilla Technology Managing Director Paul Spain said morning report while satellite internet has been available for a number of years, SpaceX’s satellites were much closer to Earth than previously seen.

“Really, it just allows them to deliver incredible internet performance.”

Satellite internet currently available in Tonga is very limited, he said. Starlink would allow widespread internet availability while the fiber optic cable was still damaged.

The wired connection has always been better from a performance and bandwidth perspective, but having the option available would be fantastic, he said.

Not all Tongan islands are served by fiber optic cable, he said.

“That may be a permanent option for some of these particular locations.”

The basic Starlink service retails in New Zealand for $159, a cost that could potentially be shared among a group of people, he said.

“It’s quite accessible considering it’s an unlimited or uncapped service compared to what we’ve had in the past and also considering the level of performance and lack of lags.”

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