By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Aliv yesterday said “over 98 percent” of its cellular tower sites were fully operational by yesterday afternoon following Isaias’ passage, its top executive saying: “The resilience has paid off again.”
Damian Blackburn told Tribune Business that just two sites in east Grand Bahama, another two in Andros and one in Highbourne Cay in the Exumas remained to be restored due to interruptions in power supply and transmission issues from the storm.
“We have over 98 percent of the sites on air now,” Mr Blackburn said. “The only places where we are still working to restore network service are McLean’s Town and Pelican Point in east Grand Bahama; Barc and Stafford Creek in Andros; and Highbourne Cay.
“We have teams working currently to restore service in these last remaining areas. Through the storm, over 30 percent of the sites went to back up power solutions. The network held up pretty well. There’s a couple of odd spots where we’re recovering but the network is pretty much online everywhere.
“Certainly in New Providence we did not lose much, and Aliv was working the same as normal. The preparation by our team has proven to be the winning formula in terms of making sure back-up power is working and we have a resilient core network. The resilience has paid off again.”
Mr Blackburn said Aliv had taken its temporary tower solutions in McLean’s Town and Pelican Point, which included coverage of Sweeting’s Cay, down during Isaias “to protect them from the storm”.
These, he added, were being restored yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Barc and Stafford Creek communities in Andros were said to be experiencing limited service, while restoration efforts on Highbourne Cay were continuing.
“The sites stood up well, and the back-up power plan worked on the main, but there are certain things that happen when winds and rain are at that level,” Mr Blackburn added. “Microwave transmission can be affected...
“We’ve had good lessons each time, not just from Dorian but from all the hurricanes we’ve had in recent years, and improved things in our plan and undoubtedly made them stronger.”
In other areas where Aliv experienced challenges, the mobile operator said service had been restored in Little Farmers Cay, Blackpoint, Rolleville, Moss Town and Staniel Cay on Exuma by yesterday morning. Rolleville and Moss Town were suffering limited service due to power challenges.
While Moore’s Island had been restored, Man O’War Cay in Abaco was warned to experience data capacity issues until the temporary site there can be fully restored.
Tracey Boucher, Aliv’s director of engineering, added in a statement: “We sustained no major damage to Aliv’s network. However, we did have a few power and transmission challenges. We operated over 30 percent of our network sites on back-up batteries and/or generator power to keep the Aliv service working during the hurricane...
“Our engineers are working diligently to restore full network service as soon as possible to all communities in The Bahamas. We apologise for any service interruption to our customers as we undertake this restoration work.”