For several days Tonga has been at the center of the scene for the shocking volcanic eruption and the repercussions that the event has had in different parts of the world. And to the serious humanitarian problems caused by this natural catastrophe is added the cut in communications that affects the island; to the point that it could take a month before the territory regains the internet connection. For this reason, Elon Musk is considering using Starlink to restore connectivity on site.
CEO SpaceX took to Twitter to launch a consultation on the issue. “Could the people of Tonga tell us if it’s important for SpaceX to send Starlink terminals?” the entrepreneur posted in response to a Reuters article about how long it might take to return internet access after the volcano’s explosion.
Could people from Tonga let us know if it is important for SpaceX to send over Starlink terminals?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2022
It is not yet known if Elon Musk will effectively collaborate through Starlink to restore connectivity in Tonga, although he has already made it clear that it would not be an easy thing to fulfill. When another user responded by quoting a letter published by Dr. Shane Reti, a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, who asked him for that same possibility, the Tesla CEO also spoke of the difficulty of the task.
“This is a difficult thing for us to do right now, as we don’t have enough satellites with laser links, and there are already geo satellites serving the Tonga region. That’s why I’m asking for clear confirmation,” the businessman said.
Recall that the constellation belonging to SpaceX has around 1700 satellites in orbit, but Elon Musk’s intention is to take that number above 40 thousand. Starlink, which earlier this year confirmed its official arrival in Spain, is available in 20 countries and has important expansion plans, including offering access to the web on commercial flights. We will see if the technical conditions are in place for it to also become a key tool for Tonga to slowly return to normal, after one of the most shocking natural disasters of recent times.