Tonga Island suffers from total blackout after a storm

Today’s world is totally internet driven and the internet is almost everywhere in the world. There are some countries where the internet is the way they connect with the world. It is their source of income and way of life. There are countries also which totally depend on the internet as their major source of connection to the outer world is internet and nothing else. There are some islands and those islands have no connection to the outer world if not for the internet and their tourism and payments depend on the internet.

Now, imagine if your internet stops working suddenly and doesn’t turn back on, no mobile data nor any Wi-Fi. The amount of discomfort and the amount of disruption it would cause is unimaginable. The world is not only dependent on oxygen but also on the internet nowadays. That said, the same thing happened to an island where internet is everything.

Tonga Island recently suffered from a total-blackout. It had zero phone service and internet service after a storm hit the islands. Storms are a common occurring in that area but this was the first time the internet totally cut off and even the phone services were lost for a duration of time. This happened because the cable via, which the connection comes from was damaged. The cable travels to the island through the sea at is installed underground.

It is an undersea cable and it seems to have had a lot of damage as the internet went off and has not come back on. The island currently depends on a local internet provider’s satellite connection. The satellite connection and the bandwidth is not so strong so all the social media sites are blocked. This incident happened last Sunday.

The tourism is how the island manages to make a living and even that has been hampered because of this. The hotels are not able to manage simple credit card transactions. They had to ask the tourists to pay in cash which is always a problem. In some cases, the tourists had to share their credit card credentials so that they could pay later which is risky.

Apart from this, no online payment could take place and it is the only means of money transfer possible. Some have relatives that pay from abroad and that was also not possible.

This kind of outage hampers the whole economy of a kingdom like Tonga. The cable might take around two weeks to get back to its working ways but that is a lot of time and it is currently working on a single internet provider’s connection. All the websites which are of no use have been blocked to save bandwidth.

This is the kind of disruption the internet can cause. This is the reason why our firewalls should be stronger and at the same time, we should be less dependent on the internet.

-Unmesh Phule

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