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Subsea Fibre Break Impacting Internet, Cable Service on Montserrat

Montserrat has been experiencing telecommunication challenges over the weekend and into Monday due to a subsea fibre breakage.

According to information reaching Discover Montserrat, Southern Caribbean Fiber (SCF) which provides the link between Antigua to Montserrat and Antigua to Guadeloupe went down around 3:15PM on Saturday.

Both Digicel and Flow experienced loss of service on their Broadband, Fixed Voice, Mobile and Direct Internet Access (DIA) services.

As of Monday, the companies had restored some services via the microwave link to Antigua, which was the only way the island was connected prior to returning to the internet super highway in 2021.

Digicel’s cable service is currently offline. However, mobile service has been restored. Broadband is not at full capacity due to bandwidth constraints.

Flow has temporarily restored mobile and DIA services to customers.

While the Government of Montserrat was impacted by the breakage, the redundancy implemented by the Department for Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) was able to ensure that they remained online throughout.

SCF says tests have determined that the fibre break is at a depth of roughly 15 to 20 meters near Antigua.

It has not yet been determined what caused the break, however, investigations are underway to ascertain whether there have been ships in the area during the time the damage occurred.

SCF has already called up the cable repair ship which has responsibility for the Atlantic Cable Maintenance & Repair Agreement (ACMA). It is expected to be leaving Curacao today. 

The expected timeframe for repair is estimated at seven to ten days.

SCF has been working with the telecommunication providers to reroute their traffic via the Montserrat to Guadeloupe segment of the cable, which remains fully functional.