Cable damage cost Batelco millions
Manama, February 5, 2008
Unprecedented damage to undersea cables that severely disrupted Internet links last week has cost Batelco millions of dollars, it was revealed.
The company's web service is still not back to normal for 45 per cent of Internet subscribers, revealed chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos.
He said customers could now be compensated for disruptions to the service.
'We hope that full services could be restored within 10 days,' he told a Press conference at Batelco's headquarters, in Hamala.
'We are happy that people in Bahrain did not lose complete communication. The downloading part was mainly affected.'
Batelco's $1 million investment in the NOC (Network Operation Centre) is already proving to be money well spent, said Kaliaropoulos.
'Our executive and network teams have managed and controlled events from the state-of-the-art centre following damage to two fibre optic cables (Flag and Sea-Me-We 4) near Alexandria, Egypt, and a third fibre optic cable (Falcon) between Dubai and Muscat,' he said.
'The disruptions caused extreme frustration for Batelco's customers who have become largely dependent on electronic communication.
'It caused capacity constraints on all telecommunications networks across the Middle East and India, not just Bahrain.'
He said Batelco engineers at the operations centre had to re-route Internet, voice and data traffic to other cable systems.
'Batelco has invested in three international cable systems Flag, Sea-Me-We 3 and Sea-Me-We 4 and a satellite earth station to provide voice, data and Internet services to its customers across the kingdom,' he revealed.
'Batelco has also invested in three diverse paths (SFO, Falcon and Fog) to access such international connectivity.'
Kaliaropoulos claimed Batelco's decision to invest in multiple cable systems had 'protected Bahrain from experiencing a very severe, almost catastrophic disconnection with the rest of the world'.
He added the company could not yet estimate the total losses, but said it could run into millions of dollars.
'We have not worked out the actual losses,' he said. 'On compensating customers for their losses, we are now reviewing what we can do.'
'However, we have to sit with the regulator before deciding on this aspect.'
The Egyptian government has released a statement saying Internet cables damaged in the Mediterranean Sea were not caused by ships, revoking earlier claims.
The statement came as a fourth cable linking Qatar and the UAE was damaged on Sunday, causing even more disruptions in the Gulf.-TradeArabia News Service