13 Jan 2017

Marshalls buy more bandwidth to alleviate internet woes

8:08 pm on 13 January 2017

Telecommunications authorities in the Marshall Islands have purchased more bandwidth to alleviate internet woes brought on by delays to repair work on the country's submarine cable.

National Telecommunication Authority's satellite reception disks at its Majuro headquarters

The Marshall Islands shifted all communications from a submarine fiber optic cable to satellites earlier this week, reducing bandwidth by 97 percent, as repair work started on the cable. It has resulted in a virtual blackout of Internet access for the nation. Photo: Giff Johnson

The general manager of the National Telecommunications Authority Tommy Kijiner Jr. said the fiber optic cable repair had developed into a double repair operation.

Repairwork on the cable, which services the Marshall Islands and Pohnpei, started on 28th December and was supposed to be fixed by 7th January but this has now been delayed to the 18th because of difficulties finding the damaged section of the cable.

In all this time the Marshall Islands has been experiencing a virtual internet blackout because of a lack of bandwidth from satellites.

Earlier this week the National Telecommunications Authority purchased additional bandwidth to try remedy the situation, but it is still less than 10 percent of the bandwidth the nation enjoys with the cable installed in 2009.

This is the first time since installation that repairs have been needed.

The open-ocean repair work about 10 miles west of Kwajalein has now identified the location of the problem on the cable, while a second problem with the "armour" around the cable close to shore at the U.S. Army base at Kwajalein Atoll was also identified as needing repair.