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January 20, 2010

BTC's Haitian cable suffers damage

BTC's Haitian cable suffers damage, but ISPs remain operational

By Sean Buckley

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), the service provider that runs the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network (BDSNi) submarine cable system linking to Haiti, reported that service has been disrupted as a result of the earthquake that struck the Port-au-Prince area.

In an interview with Telegeography, Alveta Moss, a representative of BTC, said: "We are currently remotely assessing the extent of the damage, pending contact with our partners in Haiti. Until we are able to thoroughly assess the damage, I am unable at this time to indicate how long repairs will take or when service will be restored."

Jointly controlled by Haitian wireline service provider Teleco and BTC, the 1.92 Tbps-capable BDSNi cable network that connects Port-au-Prince to Matthew Town in the Bahamas and into the U.S., is currently used by Teleco in conjunction with INTELSAT satellite network connections. But since the BDSNi is relatively new (it was lit in December 2006) and Haiti depends on satellite networks for the majority of its communications links, it is unknown how much traffic actually goes over the submarine network.

At the same time, it appears that many of Haiti's ISPs are still up and running, but there have been unconfirmed reports that the country's two largest--Hainet and Access Haiti-were down.