BW Digital to Expand Hawaiki Cable to Connect Tonga

BW Digital is expanding the Hawaiki cable to connect Tonga, funded by Australian and New Zealand governments by late 2025.By Niva Yadav, Data Center Dynamics
June 24, 2024

The Hawaiki subsea cable will be expanded to connect Tonga to New Zealand, Australia, and the US.

In a LinkedIn post, cable operator BW Digital announced the Australian and Kiwi governments will fund the construction of a new branch to Tonga.

The expansion will add 338km to the route and a landing point in Nuku’alofa.

Launched in 2018, the Hawaiki cable currently spans 14,000km with landing points in Sydney, Australia; Mangawhai, New Zealand; Pago Pago, American Samoa; and Oregon and Hawaii in the US.

BW Digital said the new cable will provide critical redundancy for Tonga’s subsea cable network, particularly in light of the 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai undersea volcano eruption that severed several international and domestic cables in the region.

The cable is expected to be operational by late 2025 and delivered by BW Digital and Tonga Cable Limited.

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu'akavameiliku, said the government is pleased to be working with Australia and New Zealand to deliver a second international subsea cable for the people of Tonga.

Currently, Tonga is home to one other international cable – the Tonga cable – which connects the country to Fiji. It is owned by a consortium of Digicel Tonga, the Government of Tonga, and the Tonga Communications Corporation.

The cable suffered disruptions during the 2022 undersea volcano eruptions, with repairs taking place a month after the eruption. The cable had multiple faults and breaks along some 50km.

Tonga’s domestic cable also underwent repair, 18 months after the event.

“This project is part of Australia’s broader investment in secure and resilient telecommunications infrastructure across the region, including through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific,” said Brek Batley, Australian high commissioner to Tonga.

Matthew Howell, New Zealand's high commissioner to Tonga, added: “The redundancy cable will support resilience and connectivity and be an important enabler for economic growth – all three are priorities at the heart of New Zealand’s partnership with Tonga.”

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