ICTA expresses concern about resilience of Cayman Islands Telecoms infrastructure
In the wake of a major hardware failure that affected the MAYA-1 submarine cable system, and caused widespread outages on the telephone networks in Cayman, the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) has expressed its concerns about the resilience of Cayman’s telecommunications infrastructure.
It is believed that the network crash — which started affecting call traffic on the morning of 16 February and was resolved at approximately 9pm by teams working in Miami — was linked to a lightning strike earlier in the day at a facility in Miami.
The outage impacted connections between the telephone and mobile networks in Cayman. Customers on one network were able to call numbers served by the same provider for the most part but could not connect to numbers served by other telecommunications providers. For example, Cable &Wireless customers could not call C3 or Logic customers and vice versa.
“The Authority is very concerned that a single point of failure could have such far-reaching effects on all telecommunications networks in the Cayman Islands, and all four of our main telecommunications licensees share the same sentiment,” said Alee Fa’amoe, ICTA Managing Director. “As a result, the Authority will form a technical working group consisting of representatives from the four network providers to jointly develop solutions to improve the resilience of our entire telecommunications infrastructure. Telecommunications is part of our critical national infrastructure, and we must do everything we can to ensure it is as robust and flexible as possible.”
Fa’amoe said the licensees and ICTA were in contact immediately after the incident occurred and that he hopes to leverage that spirit of cooperation to find technical solutions that will benefit everyone in the Cayman Islands.
Separate and apart from the inter-network connection issues, there were also some customers who could not call 911.
“Access to the Public Safety Communications Centre is critical,” said Fa’amoe. “Calls to 911 should not be impacted by the type of outage experienced on Tuesday evening. We will have to examine that particular failure separately and determine if further action is required.”
The 911 system is scheduled to be replaced soon by the ICTA on behalf of the Government.