December 1, 2022

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Elon Musk offers to send terminals to restore internet to volcano-hit Tonga

Elon Musk has offered to send Starlink internet terminals to Tonga, after the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami left the Pacific island nation without communication links to the rest of the world.

An aerial view of Nomuka Island following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai undersea volcano.
Aftermath of Hunga Tonga eruption

Replying on Twitter to a Reuters story that Tonga could be without internet connection for a month, the billionaire entrepreneur wrote: “Could people from Tonga let us know if it is important for SpaceX to send over Starlink terminals?”

The tweet soon went viral as Tongans from all over the world replied with pleas for help to reestablish communication to contact families and coordinate assistance.

Tongan politician Lord Fusitu’a responded by saying: “Yes we need them to get liquidity in to purchase much-needed goods. Voice and data completely down with undersea cable severed.”

Fusitu’a also tweeted that he was organizing an airdrop of ham radio for basic communications, and requested for direct contact with Musk to coordinate assistance.

Other members of the Tongan community responded positively to Musk’s tweet, including Josephine Latu-Sanft, a Tongan communications specialist, who wrote: “I don’t know the details of what Starlink can do, but I know you have the technology and means to help.”

Read more – Guardian UK: https://bit.ly/3Irozzr