UPDATE: The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano warmly welcomed the landing of the fibre optic cable today at the newly built Tonga Cable Ltd (TCL) Headquarter in Sopu.
He said the cable project will be officially made available to the public on August 5 at the same time the government is well aware of negative effects high speed broadband will bring to Tonga and is now working on a bill to prevent and bring those responsible to justice.
Tonga currently has the only“Tongan Internet Corporation Register Act of 2000 (the Internet Act)” which gives the “Minister responsible for Telecommunications” authority to control internet registration of “domestic and foreign persons or corporations”.
The Prime Minister did not give details of the bill but improper use of the internet in criminal activities including cyber-bullying, electronic spam and malware are common misuses of internet many countries have to deal with from time to time.
“The high speed internet services the cable will bring will effectively change the economic landscape of the Pacific, improve the delivery of health and education services and help businesses expand-creating jobs,” said Adrian Ruthenberg, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office.
“This is an exciting time for Tonga and for the Pacific,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “The new cable will make communications faster and cheaper, with huge gains for families and businesses in Tonga.”
The cable’s arrival is the latest milestone of the project which will boost Tonga’s international connectivity, providing widespread social and economic benefits to the people of Tonga.
The high speed internet services will be officially launched by the Government in early July 2013.
Tonga is the first Pacific Island Country to connect to the cable under the program, which is being funded through grants of $17.2 million from the World Bank, $9.7 million from ADB and a $6.6 million investment from TCL.