Spark Wholesale
assists Tonga

Spark uses satellite capabilities, infrastructure and international network expertise to assist Tonga.

January 2019

Tonga was left without internet, mobile or fixed line connectivity to the outside world last week following a submarine cable outage. Fortunately, Spark’s strong relationships in the Pacific with other Pacific Island operators, as well as our infrastructure and technical capabilities, paved the way for a seamless resolution to the issue for some Tongan operators.

As soon as the issue was reported, the Spark Wholesale Tribe was asked by one of the largest Tongan operators (Tonga Communications Corporation) to help in restoring internet and voice services. The Wholesale Tribe, in conjunction with members of Service Operations and Networks, worked tirelessly around the clock and through the Auckland holiday weekend with the Tonga Communications team to assist them in restoring international communication services, using our satellite station and resources at Warkworth with help from our satellite partner Intelsat.

With an estimated submarine cable repair timeframe of two to three weeks, Spark and partners managed to have alternative international voice services available via satellite within 48 hours and satellite internet services available in less than seven days - an example of the lengths to which Spark goes to support not only New Zealanders, but also other customers/partners in our corner of the world.

This was only possible thanks to the infrastructure and technical capabilities that Spark has in satellite technology and our strong relationships with other Pacific Island operators.

For international voice services there was a small legacy satellite link still in place with Tonga, but Spark worked quickly with Intelsat, TNZI and the teams in Tonga to increase the bandwidth of this service and rebuild the voice connection services.

Spark transported essential satellite equipment to Tonga, restoring around 100Mbps of internet within five days of the original outage. This amount represents around 25% of Tonga Communications’ normal usage and was sufficient to restore Tonga’s connectivity to the outside world.

For further information, please contact mark.lambourne@spark.co.nz