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Call for immediate action to allow access to high-speed, uncapped internet in Tonga

Neiafu, Vava'u

To the Honorable Minister of MEIDECC, Mrs. Fekita 'Utoikamanu, CEO of MEIDECC Sione 'Akau'ola, and Stan' Ahio, Acting Director of Communications:

I am writing to you, as a concerned citizen of Tonga, to ask that the government of Tonga take immediate action to allow access to Starlink internet services in our country.

In today's increasingly digital world, access to reliable and high-speed internet is not merely a luxury but a necessity. It is essential for education, business, healthcare, and communication, particularly in remote and rural areas where traditional Internet services are often inadequate or nonexistent.

Starlink, a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, has the potential to revolutionize internet access in Tonga. By providing high-speed internet via a network of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, Starlink can offer several benefits:

Improved Internet Connectivity: Starlink can provide high-speed, affordable internet to areas currently underserved by traditional Internet service providers. This would bridge the digital divide and ensure that all Tongans have access to the internet, regardless of their geographical location.

Economic Development: Reliable internet access can drive economic growth by enabling businesses, residents, citizens, and guests to operate more efficiently, reach broader markets, and create new opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Education: Access to high-speed internet is crucial for modern education. It allows students and educators to access many online resources, engage in remote learning, and collaborate with peers and experts globally.

Healthcare: Telemedicine and online health resources can significantly improve healthcare delivery, particularly in remote areas with limited access to medical facilities and specialists.

Disaster Response and Management: High-speed internet can enhance communication and coordination during natural disasters, unfortunately not uncommon in our region. It can also improve the effectiveness of emergency response and recovery efforts.

Introducing a new internet service provider involves regulatory considerations and potential challenges. However, the benefits of allowing Starlink to operate in Tonga far outweigh any possible difficulties. By permitting Starlink to provide services in our country, the government would be taking a significant step toward ensuring that all Tongans can enjoy modern, high-speed internet access.

Starlink is in line with the Honorable Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni's words given in the joint media release for the 53rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, "With our unique vulnerabilities – we must build resilience into everything that we do: how we address the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, how we build our economies through collective solutions, how we build the capacity of our people through innovation and technology, and in how we address our continued health challenges by working together. We must build better, now."

Thank you for considering my petition. I look forward to your favorable response and the positive changes Starlink internet services can bring to Tonga.

Yours sincerely,

Brian A. Meikle

P. O. Box 43

Neiafu, Island of Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga

brianalanmeikle [at] gmail [dot] com