How Tonga Got Hooked Up

The day the king turned on the internet

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

Last year, King Tupou VI of Tonga stood beside his Prime Minister, Lord Tu‘ivakanō, in front of a crowd gathered in the center of the nation’s capital, Nuku‘alofa. With as much pageantry as he could muster for the act, the King tapped the mouse, and with one little click launched the Pacific island nation’s first ever high-speed internet service. The ceremony garnered more fanfare and press attention than most tech upgrades do, and for good reason—it can be extremely difficult to hook such a remote nation into the modern internet infrastructure. Considering how vital it could be to Tonga’s future, the King’s was a mouse click worthy of celebration.

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