The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has launched an internal investigation into the cause of a nationwide system outage that disrupted services to more than 300,000 mobile, landline and broadband customers yesterday, company officials said.
For most of yesterday, BTC customers were unable to make mobile or landline calls, send text messages or access broadband Internet services provided by BTC.
A statement released by BTC said the system failure came after a power outage knocked out its network management center on Poinciana Drive at 8:10 a.m. yesterday.
BTC said the plant's back-up batteries started immediately but soon failed. BTC added that its generator did not function as designed after the blackout.
BTC CEO Geoff Houston apologized for the system failure, but said it had nothing to do with the company's ongoing network upgrades.
He added that the company was working to identify the source of yesterday's problem, invest in its network and ensure that an outage of this size never occurs again.
"This is not a good day for BTC," said Houston at a press conference at BTC's Network Management Center on Poinciana Drive yesterday.
"We are extremely apologetic for the impact that this has had on all of our customers. We are going to do whatever we can to make sure it never happens again."
He added that the system failure has hampered BTC's efforts to maintain customer confidence.
"I can say from my 25 plus years in this industry, an outage of this magnitude is the most significant I've ever experienced," Houston said.
"It is questioning a lot in terms of our network and what we need to do to fix a lot of our underlying issues. We do recognize that we're going to have a challenge to recover that faith to our customers, their confidence in us, but we are absolutely committed to continuing on this journey to modernize and fix up BTC."
BTC officials said they are considering ways to compensate customers for yesterday's outage.
"We're looking at all forms of compensation right now," Houston said. "We [had talked] of doing something special in consideration of what happened last week as part of our upgrade. This one has taken us by surprise. We're going to need a little bit of time to see what we do next."
Houston said it was too early to say what caused the system failure but added that the company is exploring whether it was sabotage, system malfunction or something else.
"Given that it is such a rare occurrence, we have to look at all options. . .We don't know whether it was a people issue, process issue or platform issue," Houston said.
BTC's system failure also hampered the ability of residents to get in contact with emergency services.
"We did have complaints from persons who said they could not get through to the emergency system of 919," Herbert Brown, managing director of the Public Hospitals Authority, told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
"However, the PMH [Princess Margaret Hospital] line was working and they were able to call PMH who communicated with us," he said.
The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) restored power to the island by 9:20 a.m. However, most of BTC's services remained down until yesterday afternoon.
BTC said it restored its landline services by 4 p.m. yesterday and mobile services were being restored incrementally. The company's broadband services were restored yesterday morning, BTC said.
Many of the company's Enterprise subscribers were still out of service up to yesterday afternoon, but BTC officials said they expected to have the entire network operational by last night.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian