CNMI businesses to bounce back after outage

7:47 am on 20 July 2015

The Chamber of Commerce in Saipan says businesses in the Northern Marianas will bounce back from a communications blackout that has ground business to a halt.

IT&E diver checks fibre optic cable.

An IT&E diver checks the undersea fibre optic cable in the Northern Marianas. Photo: IT&E

A state of emergency was declared last week after the sole underwater fiber optic cable was severed by a boulder, cutting all phone, internet, banking and other services to the outside world.

The service provider and cable owner, IT&E, says it will foot the repair bill of 2-million US dollars.

The president of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Alexander Sablan, says businesses have been badly hit by the outage, but he says the community is resilient.

"I don't think anybody wanted this to occur. I don't think IT&E are in large degree at fault here. They just need to get the system back up and running as quickly as possible so that the citizens of the CNMI can get back to normal and business can get back to normal, because we are on an economic upswing, and this is kinda thwarting it right now."

Alexander Sablan says until the cable is fixed, businesses are unable to operate at full capacity.