Satellite broadband provider Kacific has been authorised to provide communications services to Tonga after the country’s government ‘temporarily suspended’ its dispute with the company, reports Capacity. Following a breakthrough in an ongoing legal fight between the Singapore-based company and the Tongan government over a 15-year agreement signed in 2019, Kacific is now supplying 1Gbps of bandwidth via its Kacific1 satellite to telecom operators and service providers to aid recovery efforts in the country, which saw its submarine cables ruptured by a volcanic eruption on 15 January.
‘We’re extremely pleased that we have now been able to resolve the impasse in providing connectivity,’ Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux commented, adding: ‘We have many friends and partners in Tonga who are aware that we understand and deeply sympathise with the difficulties they have been facing. Their efforts have helped us secure the approvals we needed to provide this essential service.’
The USD5.7 million dispute concerns a 15-year satellite connectivity deal signed between Tonga and Kacific in April 2019, following a twelve-day subsea cable outage earlier that year. The contract has been sitting in arbitration in Singapore unactivated, as the current Tongan administration claims Tonga Satellite Limited, the government company making the deal, did not have a business licence and therefore had no legal basis to operate, rendering the deal unlawful. A recent Tongan Supreme Court decision ordered the firm to be relisted on the company register, however, adding it was clear the company had been removed to frustrate arbitration of the dispute. It is not yet clear how the matter has been resolved.