February 27, 2012
BTC Repairs in Record Time - BTC repairmen completed repairs to more than 4,000 residential and business customers in eastern New Providence by Sunday evening after an excavator being used by the road improvement project crew in a densely populated area severed a major fiber optic cable and two copper cables on Prince Charles Drive Friday morning, disrupting cellular service nationwide and residential service throughout eastern New Providence. Cell service was restored by Friday night but it took more than 580 man hours to effect repairs over the weekend with almost all land lines back in service by Sunday evening with the exception of about 80 businesses inaccessible over the weekend.
Extensive BTC Repairs in Record Time Telephone service disruptions due to severed cables by road works crew
BTC repair teams worked around the clock over the weekend dedicating more that 580 man hours to restore service in record time to more than 4,000 landline customers in eastern New Providence. Repairs, including to cellular service nationwide, followed a mass disruption Friday when a crew working on the road improvement project severed BTC’s fiber optic cable and two copper cables on Prince Charles Drive while using an extraordinarily large piece of equipment usually reserved for virgin land devoid of underground utilities.
“There is a saying that adversity brings out the best in individuals or teams,” said Carl Culmer, Vice President of Network Services. “This weekend our teams were challenged after our fiber cables for our mobile network along with two 2400-pair copper cables were severed by the company performing the roadwork improvement project.” The damages were detected at 10 am on Friday, February 24. BTC immediately mobilized repair and maintenance teams, quickly installing replacement fiber optic cables and restoring cell phone service nationwide by 6:30 pm the same day.
But fixed lines that operate from the two, 2,400-pair copper cables required much more extensive and meticulous repair work.
"The team did an excellent job," said Culmer. "I cannot give them enough credit, they really came together and worked around the clock. It was expected that the repairs for the two copper cables would take us late into Sunday night or early Monday morning, but I am happy to report that the team completed repairs on both cables by 8 pm Sunday,” Not since Hurricane Irene in August had BTC experienced such widespread outages requiring finite repairs. Engineers and construction crews had to match new lines to every single landline customer, an exercise Culmer described as being the equivalent of taking a copper-threaded needle from a point at the cable to a number and doing that more than 4,000 times. More than 80 business lines that repair teams could not gain access to over the weekend were addressed Monday morning and repairs are being made.
BTC cables have been damaged more than twelve times by work crews since the start of the road improvement project, with cables being severed on Robinson Rd, Baillou Hill Road, by the Mall at Marathon and John F. Kennedy Drive. According to Culmer, the service disruption over the weekend is one of the largest landline outages recorded that was not directly related to a storm. "The magnitude of customers affected was augmented given that the damaged cables served densely populated areas with high usage of telephone and internet services," he said. "This is an upper income bracket area with consistently high demand for telephone and internet service." With the two-year, $50 million NGN network expected to be completed by year-end, BTC will be able to save substantial repair time and costs should accidents occur.