Denzil West, Project Manager and Director of the government’s IT agency said he has been impressed with the progress made on the installation of the fibre optic cable so far.
Speaking from Bunkum Bay where the cable was brought ashore from the IT Intrepid by local contractors, West said the work began on Tuesday morning at 7AM. The cable, he added has now landed and is inside the manhole and preparations have begun to do the seaside joining.
West, who heads the Department for Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) explained that the terrestrial portion of the cable is not yet in the manhole.
The subsea fibre optic cable is rated to last at least 25 years. It is essentially tinier than a strand of hair and four of these cables are being stalled, encased in layers of rubber and steel to protect it from the elements in the ocean, explained the director.
The project is being executed with social distancing measures in place. Scuba Montserrat is providing the marine support to land the cable and is not permitted to engage with the ship’s crew. The IT Intrepid will leave island later today pulling the cable out to connect it into the Antigua and Guadeloupe portion of the subsea cables. The ship is then expected to return by Saturday to test the connectivity of the fibre optic cables. West said he is hopeful this may happen sooner, given the speed at which the work is currently progressing.
Montserrat lost its connection to fibre optic cable in 1995 when volcanic eruptions began. The reconnection will provide more redundancy for the island’s internet and communication services. Currently, both local telecommunication providers use microwave to deliver internet services to the island. West said that as the island is in the hurricane belt, damage to a tower can take Montserrat offline. The fibre optic cable will solve this issue as it is undersea and underground. West said the project has been in the making for more than ten years and it will open opportunities for improved service delivery and new businesses once the installation and activation is completed.
Watch the video below for more information and to see this morning’s activities at Bunkum Bay.