Communications outage devastates CNMI businesses

7:20 am on 17 July 2015

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce says a communications blackout has been devastating to businesses over the past week.

San Antonio Beach, CNMI

San Antonio Beach, CNMI Photo: RNZI / Mark Rabago

A state of emergency was declared in the CNMI this week after a fibre optic cable was severed by a boulder cutting off all phone, internet, banking and other services to the outside world.

The president of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Alexander Sablan, says some businesses lost tens of thousands of dollars each day, for the almost five days they were unable to access the internet.

He says businesses have been hit hard over the last few days, and it was scary to be so extremely cut off from the world.

"Commerce came to a halt, and connections with loved ones came to a halt and nobody could notify people what was going on. We're seeing a lot of people communicate that way about how it was difficult for them but I think everybody made do as best they could."

Alexander Sablan says the community is resilient and they will bounce back from this.