Weeks of limited services ahead for CNMI

9:04 am on 15 July 2015

A limited telecommunications service has resumed in the Northern Marianas, but it could be three weeks before a full service is restored.

The sole undersea fibre optic cable to Guam was severed by a boulder last week, cutting all phone, internet, banking and other services to the outside world.

Government services have been severely affected and the governor is considering declaring a state of emergency.

Our correspondent in the CNMI, Mark Rabago, says a limited service has been restored by the cable's owner, Guam-based company IT&E, but phone services are patchy, internet is slow, and many ATMs are still down.

He says it will be weeks before a full service is restored.

"IT&E contracted a company from Taiwan that fixes underwater cables, but they have to come here by ship so it takes another two weeks before they can come here, so two weeks to come here and then fix it, so we're looking at probably three weeks for the undersea fibre optic cable to come online again."

Mark Rabago says there have also been calls for a lawsuit against IT&E, as the territory has incurred serious losses as a result of the outage.

He says people have had no money for a week and typhoon warnings weren't able to be broadcast.

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