Wanted dead or alive: Digicel and Flow offer reward after double vandalism cuts communications

10 Jan 2014

Wireless provider Digicel Jamaica and infrastructure provide Columbus Communications have jointly offered a JMD1 million (USD9,306) reward for information leading to a conviction after ‘multiple incidents of vandalism’ to fibre-optic cables led to widespread service disruption, Jamaica Observer reports. Digicel Jamaica’s CEO Barry O’Brien explained that several fibre pairs on the cellco’s underground fibre route from its Caymanas switch building were damaged early on Wednesday morning, although services were not affected by the vandalism as traffic was automatically re-routed through the company’s backup aerial fibre route. Within an hour, however, the backup route – which O’Brien noted ‘traverses a completely different path as part of our network resiliency’ – was also damaged. Technical teams were able to quickly repair the damage, however, and service was restored later that day. Columbus, which offers infrastructure and wholesale data services and owns residential broadband provider Flow, was also affected by both incidents.

O’Brien went on to say: ‘We have reported the incidents to the police and we promise to work with them to thoroughly investigate this highly unusual case of double vandalism…We take this matter very seriously and we are doing everything possible to find the perpetrators, to hold them accountable and to prevent a reoccurrence.’ In addition to the reward for information leading to conviction, the two companies are currently assessing the scale and cost of the damage and are considering compensation for customers affected by the temporary blackout.