Cable could return by January 18

The NTA Command Center during the submarine cable down period: arguably the most important spot in the RMI. People simply press the "enter" or “send” button to send an online message or complete a business transaction. That simplicity is made possible by the hard working people behind the scenes — the NTA crew, who are monitoring bandwidth usage around the clock to ensure it stays within stable use levels and manually rotate customers for scheduled blocks of Internet access time. In the photo, the NTA command center monitors internet traffic, clockwise from left: Stephen Loeak, Eugene Wase, Tata Kabua, Charlie Abraham, Jr. Joseph, Bredalynn Jatios and Ayson Maddison Photo: Hilary Hosia.
The NTA Command Center during the submarine cable down period: arguably the most important spot in the RMI. People simply press the “enter” or “send” button to send an online message or complete a business transaction. That simplicity is made possible by the hard working people behind the scenes — the NTA crew, who are monitoring bandwidth usage around the clock to ensure it stays within stable use levels and manually rotate customers for scheduled blocks of Internet access time. In the photo, the NTA command center monitors internet traffic, clockwise from left: Stephen Loeak, Eugene Wase, Tata Kabua, Charlie Abraham, Jr. Joseph, Bredalynn Jatios and Ayson Maddison Photo: Hilary Hosia.


GIFF JOHNSON

Just days after submarine cable repair crew provided a January 7 target date for completion of work last week Wednesday, the date was delayed again — to January 18 — when the search for the damage spot took longer than anticipated.
As a result of more delays in getting the cable back into operation, NTA bought extra satellite bandwidth last weekend that it expected to roll out by Thursday this week to assist customers to be able to access their email.
NTA General Manager Tommy Kijiner, Jr. said Wednesday this week that they cable repair has proved more complicated than originally expected. A second repair operation is in progress in addition to the open-ocean repair work about 10 miles west of Kwajalein: a problem with the “armor” around the cable close to shore at Kwajalein was identified that also needed repairs.
“Two repair crews are currently at work,” said Kijiner. One is working on the ocean site, the other at Kwajalein.
“It is looking promising for the cable to be back on by January 18,” he added. Kijiner said NTA receives daily updates on progress. Until last Sunday, the daily reports showed no repair progress, indicating they were still working to locate the fault on the cable that has been pulled up from the ocean floor for inspection and repair work. “They have now located the fault,” he said. Tuesday’s report said the cable team is looking at powering up the cable next week Wednesday. “We could be back on by evening time (on January 18),” Kijiner said.
Most local businesses, government agencies and individuals have experienced difficulty in carrying out normal operations in the absence of the bandwidth provided by the cable, which went down for repairs on December 28.
After a week of Internet crisis for many local businesses and government agencies, a rotating system providing two-to-three hours of Internet access has stabilized many business and government operations.
Residential “DSL” Internet usage, with the exception of email in some instances, has been mostly off since the cable went down for repairs.
“Once (the additional bandwidth) is switched on, home DSL customers will have access to their email in the evenings,” said Kijiner. “It will be 128 Kbps, faster than dial up but still slow. But it will be enough to access email sites.”

Read more about this in the January 13, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.