The Kingdom of Tonga is comprised of 176 islands of which 40 are inhabited. Tonga is divided into three main islands Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai in the centre, and Vava’u in the north. The capital Nuku’alofa is on the island of Tongatapu. The population of Tonga is approximately 103,000 people (Census, 2011). Approximately 70% of the country's population reside on the main island of Tongatapu.
Tonga faces disaster risk and threats from earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tropical cyclones, and climate change related events such as droughts, sea level rise, flooding and erosion of low-lying areas. Tonga lies about 200 km west of the Tonga Trench fault zone, where the Pacific Plate subducts beneath the Australian Plate. Tonga is also located within the Ring of Fire that runs around the Pacific Ocean and where most seismic activities occurs.
The Tonga National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) was established under the Emergency Management Act 2007. The NEMO's primary function is to coordinate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and emergency management activities in the Kingdom of Tonga. A national cluster system was created under the coordination structure of the NEMO in 2015, and the national clusters in Tonga are lead by relevant line ministries. The national Telecommunications Cluster is lead by the Department of Communications under the Ministry of MEIDECC.
The contact details of the Tonga NEMO are:
The ETC is focussed on preparedness activities in Tonga and nearby Pacific Island countries under its Pacific Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) project, lead by WFP.
International dial code: +676
Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC) is the only fixed line operator in Tonga with a100% market share on fixed telephone lines.
There are two mobile network operators – TCC and Digicel Tonga – both offering GSM and 3G services.
Country code: .to
TCC states that it has a 70% market share on dial up and broadband internet. TCC's internet service is called "Kalianet" and is available in Tongatapu, Ha’apai, Vava’u, and ‘Eua through WiMax broadband. Kalianet also offers ADSL2+ and leased line services.
Digicel and TCC offer mobile broadband services over their mobile networks.
Broadcast radio remains one of the most important mediums for getting early warning messages to communities. See section on Broadcast Radio for more information.
There are multiple siren/announcement systems in place in Tonga which operate independently of each other. As of November 2016, there are three siren and/or public announcement systems on the main island of Tongatapu. In addition, there is a combined siren/announcement system on Mo’unga’one Island in Ha’apai (the speaker is located at Mo’unga’one Primary School).
The Tonga National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), located in the capital Nuku'alofa, uses both VHF and HF land based radio communication systems. In addition, the Tonga Meteorological Service uses land based VHF and HF radio. The NEMO/Met Office VHF network operates on three simplex channels. Given the very flat topography of Tonga, line of sight (LOS) connectivity is sufficient between the sites on the NEMO/Met VHF network in Nuku'alofa and Ha'apai. The VHF network used by the NEMO and Met Office has six active base station sites in Nuku'alofa. The VHF network on the island of Ha'apai (established in 2016) has four active VHF base station sites.
The Tonga Met Service also operates the country's maritime coastal VHF and HF radio network. All international standard VHF marine channels (CH0-CH88) are programmed into the coastal VHF radio station. However, the VHF coastal radio channels actively used in Tonga are CH12, CH 16, and CH26. Multiple HF channels are programmed on the coastal HF network between the 2 - 9 MHz range.
Tonga Police and Defence also have their own radio communication networks. Fire are looking to establish a UHF radio network.
Tonga Power Limited (TPL) is the sole energy provider for the Kingdom of Tonga. As of December 2016, TPL reports on its website (www.tongapower.to) that it has 17,000 residental customers and 4,000 commercial customers on its electricity networks throughout the Tonga. There are four grid systems owned and operated by TPL on the four major island groups of Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai, and ‘Eua (an island close to Tongatapu). 85% of TPL's customers are in Tongatapu (Tonga's main island), the remainder are on the three small outer islands grids.
The ownership of Tonga's electricity assets has changed twice in recent years, first in 1998 when the national utility was bought by Shoreline Power and more recently in mid- 2008 when the Government of Tonga (GoT) bought the assets from Shoreline to create TPL as a state-owned enterprise.
Electrical power transmission in Tonga is 240V, 50 Hz, Type I plug and socket. The Type I plug has two flat pins in a V-shape as well as a grounding pin. A version of the plug, which only has the two flat pins, exists as well.
The Department of Communications (www.mic.gov.to), under the Ministry of Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), is the regulatory body for the telecommunications sector in Tonga. The Department is responsible for the overall management of the radio frequency spectrum in Tonga.
The Kingdom of Tonga became party to the Tampere Convention via accession (2003). The Tampere Convention (fully entitled The Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations) is a multilateral treaty governing the provision and availability of communications equipment during disaster relief operations, particularly as regards the transport of radio and related equipment over international boundaries. For detailed information on the Tampere Convention go to www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Emergency-Telecommunications/Pages/TampereConventio...
Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) is the national broadcaster for Tonga. TBC, which is government owned, runs three radio stations and two free-to-air television channels. Radio Tonga 1 (also known as A3Z) is the main AM radio station offered by TBC, and covers all of the country. In an emergency, Radio Tonga broadcasts regular updates on weather events. Radio Tonga 2 (also known as Kool 90 FM) is a commercial station. Under a joint partnership project, a new AM radio transmitter is being installed for TBC, the project kicked off in 2016. TBC also operates FM 103, a 24-hour Radio Australia relay. The TV channels are Television Tonga and Television Tonga 2. TV Tonga works in affiliation with overseas broadcasters whilst Television Tonga 2 offers more domestic content.
Tonga Cable Limited was formed in November 2009, with approval of the Government of Tonga, to build and manage a submarine fibre optic cable to connect Tonga to an international network service. The Tonga Cable System went live in 2013, and connects Tonga to Fiji and onward to a hub in Sydney allowing faster internet. The landing points of the cable system are Sopu, Tonga, and Suva, Fiji.
The Hawaiki cable system, currently under construction, is a new trans-Pacific cable that will connect Australia, New Zealand and USA (the cable includes a branch to American Samoa). The cable will include spurs to enable future connections to Fiji, New Caledonia and Tonga. The Hawaiki cable system, approximately 14,000km in length, is expected to finish construction in 2018.
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