Additional Breaks To Tonga Cable Push Repair Date Back

The Reliance found the Fiji end of the Tonga Cable but more breaks are suspected and will setback the repair date to Sunday Feb. 20.By Linny Folau, Matangi Tonga Online
February 9, 2022

The cable repair ship, Reliance, found the Fiji end of the Tonga cable this afternoon – but more breaks are suspected and it will setback the repair date to Sunday Feb. 20.

The work cannot be completed by Thursday, Feb. 10, the initial target date, for restoring connectivity to Tongatapu.

CEO of Tonga Cable Ltd., James Panuve, said the ship has revised their fix schedule to Feb. 20. They suspect there may be more than one break along the Fiji cable end.

“I just got word from the ship, they have recovered the Fiji cable about 20km from Tonga break. They've tried testing the cable towards Fiji and indications show broken fibers about 9km further west. They are now picking up the cable towards the optic break and will do more tests from there to see if anymore breaks towards Fiji end,” he told Matangi Tonga this afternoon.

The cable was recovered at around lunch time, and they had to run tests and confirm.

James said they had been looking for the Fiji side of the cable since 10:00am Saturday.

The international telecommunications cable lies about 44km south of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, which erupted violently on Jan. 15, causing tsunamis and shock waves and cutting both international and domestic communications to Tonga. The domestic cable lies only 7-8 km east of the volcano.

He said previously that the priority is to restore international communications for Tongatapu. When that is completed, they will work on restoring the domestic cable.

Last week the ship identified the break to be around 36km offshore from Tonga Cable Ltd’s Sopu station. They also recovered a 1.2km long piece of separated submarine cable.

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