Internet service still crawling after severing of cable

Stabroek News
June 21, 2003

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Service at several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) was yesterday still limited even as GT&T says backup service is up and running.

According to the ISPs, customers were still complaining of not being able to access the internet although the ISPs acknowledged receiving increased bandwidth from the telephone company.

The service was disrupted on Tuesday when the submerged Americas II cable was damaged off the coast of French Guiana.

Restoration of some service was made possible by the telephone company contracting the services of an international communications agency to provide capacity to the ISPs.

However, when Stabroek News checked with two of the ISPs, Solutions 2000 and Internet Works, they said they were still experiencing problems.

Although acknowledging that there has been increased bandwidth they said that it was not yet up to the point where it could adequately cater for their customers.

Personnel at Solutions told this newspaper that they were continuing to receive calls from some clients.

At Internet Works, which has been subscribing to a redundancy package allowing it to secure service via satellite in the event of a cable failure, the service was said to be improving with additional bandwidth being supplied yesterday morning.

However both ISPs were still concerned about the level of redundancy, as several of their customers continued to complain.

At least one of the ISPs expressed the view that GT&T may need to examine the value of being connected via the cable given that this was the third breakdown in about two years.

They wondered whether the cable was ideally positioned as it was not the first occasion that it was severed off the coast of French Guiana. Concern was also expressed with respect to the maintenance of the cable by France Telecom. The ISP official also said that there were three to four repair vessels but none was strategically positioned to respond promptly to such incidents.

The official however acknowledged the higher costs associated with access via satellite as opposed to the cable, which once working efficiently had the capacity to offer a dependable service.

The ISP spokesperson was still complimentary of the efforts of the telephone company especially in light of the severity of the situation. (Oscar P. Clarke)

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