Elon Musk donates satellite terminals to Tonga after MP’s request

Source: 1News

Elon Musk is donating 50 satellite terminals to Tonga after the island encountered communications issues following last month’s volcanic eruption and tsunami.

National MP Shane Reti (left) and Elon Musk (right).

The donation happened after several people, including National MP Shane Reti, lobbied the tech billionaire for help in re-connecting the islands.

Musk donated 50 very-small-aperture satellite terminals (VSAT), according to AFP. Engineers from the Tongan government and Musk’s SpaceX are said to be working on installing the equipment to have it up and running by next week.

Tonga’s telecommunications with the outside world remains severely disrupted with some undersea cables still under repair.

The National MP took credit for Musk’s donation in a tweet on Saturday morning.

“Glad my tweet was picked up and that we can make a difference. Undersea cables are so damaged that cable repair ship Reliance doesn't have enough supply on the ship,” Reti wrote.

Reti had previously authored a letter requesting the tech billionaire to provide his Starlink satellite internet service to Tonga.

“I am respectfully asking if you could see your way please to providing urgent Starlink internet communications to public officials and the good people of Tonga in this moment of need,” Reti wrote in January.

Starlink, developed by Musk’s company, aimed to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe through satellite technology.

In SpaceX's first mission of 2022, 49 Starlink satellites were launched into orbit.