Following severe damages to GTT’s underground cables, the local telephone giant has announced that most of the systems are now up and running on all cylinders.
Last Sunday, one of the sub-sea systems that GTT uses suffered a breakage, causing some of its services to go down. These include the *100# system to recharge accounts, buy data plans and access to other services, including After Two Belongs to You.
Chief Executive Officer of GTT, Justin Nedd, explained to reporters at a press conference on Friday, that the outage was caused as a result of flooding in Martinique, during which the underground cables were damaged inside a manhole.
“You got to pump out three meters of water, then get specialists to fix it and bring it up. But that’s a good outage. If it was much worse, like in the middle of the ocean, you’d have to sail a ship from Curacao, put down a remote-operated diving vehicle, pull up the cable and fix it,” he said, noting that that could take weeks.
The CEO noted that the current damages to the cables will take about ‘one-week’ to be fixed and this is so because the consortium that owns the cables, Americas II, had to fly specialists from France to Martinique.
Nevertheless, he disclosed that the repairs are expected to be completed by Sunday, but added there is no guarantee the cables will not face further damage in future.
“It’s a fairly complex system because the cables run from Brazil to Florida, that’s more than 8000 kilometres of cables, so for me to say there will be no more outages with the cable again would be quite reckless,” Nedd remarked.
Nevertheless, the CEO outlined that since the outage, the company’s technical team has been working round the clock to restore the local systems that were affected and were able to do so at about 07:00h on Friday by shifting all of its services onto a back-up system, otherwise known as the redundant routes.
“We do have redundancy. We have another cable that we use and that’s why the internet didn’t go down and that’s why so many of the services didn’t go down. So we are well prepared, and really, we are the only provider that has that type of redundancy in the country,” he declared.
On the other hand, the outage had also caused major issues at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, whereby the damaged cables disrupted internet service to the airlines’ servers, affecting the linkage between airlines’ check-in application hosts and the check-in counters.
Nedd explained that the airline reservation system, SITA, services were on the Americas II-owned cables and so when the breakage occurred, the systems on that service went down.
“They had a back-up system which was not effective and we’ve since restored that back-up system. That’s why the services came back up within a couple days…they are on our alternate routes,” the CEO outlined.
Moreover, when asked, Nedd posited that he cannot quantify the losses incurred by the company as a result of the outage, but noted that the company is more concerned about restoring full services to its customers. (Vahnu Manickchand)