The launching of the Tonga Cable System was held on Wednesday 21st August. His Majesty King Tupou VI opened the Landing Station at Sopu and officially marked the commissioning of the Cable System. Also in attendance were Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet, diplomatic corps, government officials and representatives from various organisations and private sector such as representatives from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Alcatel-Lucent – the company responsible for constructing the Cable System.
The CEO of Tonga Cable Limited, Mr Robert Bolouri welcomed everyone, followed by speeches by the co-financiers for the project, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The Hon. Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano presented the keynote speech.
The total value of the project is estimated at US$34 million. The cable system which runs from Suva, Fiji to Sopu, Tonga connects Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable Network which will allow Tonga’s traffic to be further carried to a data centre in Sydney, Australia.
The Prime Minister’s keynote address mentioned the opportunities that the cable system would afford the local community with reduction in costs, better quality and improved speed of telecommunication services. The Prime Minister also touched on the improved benefits the cable system would bring to local government, especially to the Health and Education sectors.
Tonga is the first Pacific Island country to connect to the cable system under the Pacific Island Regional Connectivity Programme. The government is also looking to extend the cable system to the outer islands of Tonga.