Saipan is Cut Off From the World

July 11, 2015

I wondered why both the Marianas Variety and the Saipan Tribune were frozen in time -stuck on July 8th (July 7th in the mainland). Then I saw a tweet from Angelo also wondering why the CNMI was unreachable.

It seems the fiber optic cable to the CNMI had snapped between Tinian and Saipan after midnight on July 8th. It could take more than two weeks to repair depending on the extent of the damage.

No ATMs, no internet, no telephone and no regular flights in or out of the islands. The Pacific Daily News reported that on Friday United Airlines provided an aircraft with satellite technology to fly between Saipan and Guam.

There is only one fiber optic cable to the CNMI. It was installed in 1997. Guam is linked to multiple systems, a choice made by the government to prevent  the very disaster that has occurred in Saipan - being technologically cutoff from the world with economic consequences.

Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno from The Pacific Daily News reported:
In the CNMI, the local government had an opportunity to use federal economic stimulus funds for a second undersea cable, said Guam telecommunications consultant Bob Kelly. 
Kelly said the CNMI government rejected his suggestion, so when the recent CNMI undersea cable break occurred, he said he wasn't surprised by what he called the "single point of failure," which had the effect of shutting the entire Saipan economy from the rest of the world.
It must be extremely frustrating for the residents, business owners and tourists. If anything, this shows how vulnerable we are when it comes to technology. The CNMI needs to get connected!


Anonymous said...

Coming across numerous articles about "government grants" that have been "awarded" to "various entities" over the years, one can easily suspect that a better accounting of where the money actually goes is needed (especially money pumped into the CNMI). Here is an interesting article about "who actually owns" the phone service. Nothing is being implied, but one has to wonder why the CNMI is in the situation it is in??

Anonymous said...

Marianas Newspaper did not cover the stories to let general public know how many international tourists were homeless on Saipan due to this situation since July 7, 2015. The CNMI networking system is stilling blinking up and down. By July 27, 2015 the networking system in CNMI is still not 100% restored. CNMI HANMI is preparing an economy damage list. Nobody knows who can be held responsible for this. There are international networking or telecommunication competitors needed in CNMI to improve this situation. Is Mr. Eloy Inos worrying about this situation or enjoying his vacation abroad? Mr. Ben Fitial must be laughing at this.