Public access to the Bunkum Bay Beach will be restricted over the coming days as the installation of the submarine fibre optic cable begins.
Installation operations on the marine side were slated to begin on Sunday, following the arrival of the ship ‘IT Intrepid’, which will lay the cable. The ship arrived here from Curacao, where it picked up the cable which was specially manufactured for the Montserrat project in France earlier this year.
The installation will reconnect the island to the global information superhighway, through submarine fibre optic cables linked to Antigua and Guadeloupe. The ship’s first task will be to locate and retrieve the existing Southern Caribbean Fibre ‘Segment 11’ between Guadeloupe and Antigua where the Branching Unit will be inserted.
Then on Tuesday June 30, the shore end operations in Bunkum Bay will be executed. The cable ship IT Intrepid will be present off Bunkum Bay on Wednesday July 1 to carry out the cable transfer to shore.
Head of the Department for Information Technology and e-Government Services (DITES) and Project Manager for the Montserrat Submarine Fibre Project, Denzil West explained what the shore end operations entail and the next steps. “This involves landing the cable on the beach and securing it in the newly constructed Beach Manhole. The ship will then travel away from the beach laying the cable out to the branching unit in the ocean North East of Montserrat. After the cable is connected to the Branching Unit, the IT Intrepid will return to Bunkum Bay on Saturday July 4th to perform tests that verify the connection from Montserrat to Guadeloupe and Montserrat to Antigua.”
During the course of this work, access to Bunkum Bay will be restricted on Tuesday June 30, Wednesday July 1 and Saturday July 4 while the ship is operating there. This is to ensure that there is no physical contact between the ship’s crew and local personnel.
Although the submarine connections should be completed and tested by Sunday July 5; the cable will not be ready for service until the end of August 2020.
The installations for the Terrestrial Fibre Cable and the Cable Landing Station which have been delayed by COVID-19 related restrictions are still ongoing, and should be completed by the middle of August 2020.
For regular updates and details on the Submarine Fibre Optic project visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MontserratSFP