TelEm Group promises full Internet restoration ‘soon’

POND ISLAND–The TelEm Group has promised full Internet restoration “within short” and appealed to residential and business clients to be patient.

“The promise is that service will soon be back to where it was before the company’s main SMPR-1 undersea cable was damaged on the ocean floor two days ago,” TelEm said in a press release late Tuesday.

The company’s technicians and engineers have been working around the clock since Sunday to stabilise a 10-gigabit connection they are using on an alternative undersea cable.

The first attempts to use the new fibre cable on Monday morning “proved very successful.” However, TelEm said the fibre had deteriorated hours later, once again leading to poor Internet connections country-wide.

TelEm Group Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Eldert Louisa said a restoration team had been able to install specialised equipment to stabilise the temporary link, while additional clean-up operations of the fibre cable are taking place at the SMITCOMS Building in Harbour View. Louisa said that without a clean fibre connection from French St. Martin to Dutch St. Maarten, the Internet quality would continue to fluctuate.

He said some TelEm customers had complained all day Tuesday about “deathly slow Internet” connections, while other customers had reported no connections at all. Even more customers have complained about not being able to connect to their favourite websites for business and/or entertainment, with Netflix users amongst many customers who said they were not able to watch their favourite shows.

“As of 8:00pm Tuesday, the connection from the French side to the Dutch side is stabilised and both residential and business customers should see an improvement in their connections,” Louisa said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and look for other solutions to clean up the fibre connections further and make more use of the fibre capacity we have at our disposal so that our customers can have their service restored to what it was before our own SMPR-1 cable was damaged.”

TelEm is working a hotline number to respond to specific customer requests, in addition to the services already offered to customers by TelEm’s Help Desk, which was flooded with calls from irate customers Monday and Tuesday following the outage.

“We know there are especially some businesses with specific problems and specific questions and we would like to assist them as best we can, while we work towards full restoration of all of our services,” Louisa said.

He said only 2.5 of the 10 gigabits of capacity made available to TelEm on the new fibre cable could be initially used and that had been allotted to lease-line customers such as banks and major businesses, PJIAE, Port St. Maarten and other Government-owned entities.

“What was left we provided for data use on the mobile data network and for basic Internet use. This was far from enough, based on the high demand for TelEm Group ADSL service. However, we had hoped to make use of the rest of the 10-gigabit capacity once the French-side to Dutch-side fibre cable connection was made. However, that link turned out not to be as clean as we needed it to be, so adjustments had to be made for the better of the day Tuesday,” Louisa said.

“For now and as of Tuesday evening, we want everyone to know that the link is up and customers should begin to experience a better quality of Internet service, that we will continue to monitor and improve on the quality of that link and further, that we are doing all that we can to stabilise what is only a temporary solution until we have our own SMPR-1 undersea cable repaired.”

Louisa apologised to TelEm customers for the interruptions in their telecommunication services since Sunday. “We are continuing to make full restoration of services a priority at this time. Thanks to the dedicated work of our staff and partners we have taken a giant step Tuesday to that goal,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald