Elon Musk offers Starlink internet terminals to Tonga

Elon Musk offers Starlink internet terminals to 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.

Tongans from all over the world responded with pleas for help in reestablishing communication to contact families and coordinate assistance.

The Tongan politician Lord Fusitu said: Yes, we need them to get the money to purchase much-needed goods. The voice and data is completely down with the undersea cable severed. Fusitu also tweeted that he was organizing an airdrop of ham radio for basic communications and requested 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. She suggested giving people internet until the undersea cable is repaired, then working with partners to establish robust communications infrastructure across the disaster-vulnerable Pacific.

In response, Musk wrote: This is a hard thing for us to do right now, because we don't have enough satellites with laser links and there are already satellites serving the Tonga region. That is why I am asking for clear confirmation. Communications in Tonga are still down except for satellite phones and limited internet access for a handful of officials and media.

The exchange comes after New Zealand MP Shane Reti wrote to Musk requesting Starlink internet communications be provided to Tonga to assist in recovery efforts.

Tesla has limited presence in the Pacific Islands except for Tesla solar panels, which are used in sustainable energy projects in some of the islands.