BTC WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO RESTORE SERVICES
BTC’s technical teams continue to work around the clock to restore services in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
A team arrived in Abaco on Wednesday morning to conduct initial assessments of the damage to the company’s network before returning to Nassau this afternoon to begin designing restoration plans. Currently, there are landline services in Cherokee Sound and both mobile and landline services in Sandy Point, Abaco. The team spent the last two days repairing and restoring fiber connectivity up to three miles north of Casuarina. They will continue to restore fiber connectivity up to Marsh Harbour over the weekend. The immediate plan following this, is to activate Cells on Wheels (COWs) in several locations over the coming days. This will enable BTC to erect temporary towers and provide mobile services to the more densely populated areas of the island. Once the COWs are up, the company will also provide communication stations, which will allow residents to reach out to family and friends.
In Grand Bahama - the local technical team, led by Trevor Turnquest, are heroically assessing the damage and have identified the necessary equipment needed to stabilize and restore our networks. Currently 25% of the mobile network is available across Eight Mile Rock, Freeport, West End, Taino Beach, Lucaya Hotel, Our Lucaya Indoor, Chesapeake and Coral Reef. Landline services are available in Eight Mile Rock, West End and Lucaya. Despite having personally experienced the hurricane themselves, the Grand Bahama team has continued to work around the clock to restore services there.
In the meantime, URCA has mandated that a national roaming agreement be concluded for both Abaco and Grand Bahama, allowing all subscribers of both Operators to roam on each other’s network and has imposed a deadline for implementation of Tuesday, September 10th, 2019. This will immediately enable every mobile subscriber to utilize all of the functioning cell towers of both providers throughout the affected islands and increase connectivity between these affected communities and their loved ones.
In New Providence, the intermittent issues with landline to mobile and mobile to landline calls are currently being addressed. BTC CEO Garry Sinclair said, “We’ve obviously experienced a ‘black swan’ event. Core mobile equipment failures in Abaco and Grand Bahama, left New Providence to manage virtually all of the increased mobile traffic since earlier this week due to the crises being experienced. We also terminate voice traffic and provide transmission services to our competitor, all of which has resulted in extreme congestion. We are working hard to come back stronger and rebuild better as we restore our services.”
In addition to network restoration activities, BTC has also evacuated over eighty persons including team members, their families and other members of the Abaco community who are now comfortably resting in New Providence. Evacuations for colleagues in Grand Bahama are expected to begin today, once clearance is received from the local authorities.
Sinclair added, “We spared no effort or expense to ensure that our team members were 100% accounted for. We are happy to say that all one hundred colleagues are safe. We have a team on the ground in Nassau which is helping to provide the emotional and psychological care they require after such a traumatic ordeal.” The BTC CEO further stated, “I am so proud of all of our team members who rallied together and have been working around the clock to lend a hand whenever and wherever it is needed. Some employees in New Providence have also opened up their homes to their colleagues.”
Thus far, the Cable & Wireless Foundation has pledged $500,000 to assist with the relief and rebuilding efforts and have also launched an online campaign. Locally BTC has donated over $100,000 to purchase relief and humanitarian supplies.