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2006-08-30 05:40:38

Cable Bahamas To Improve Network Reliability

Cable Bahamas customers can expect a significant increase in network reliability and less impact resulting from commercial power outages, the company recently announced.

The country's broadband provider said that it has launched a programme to upgrade all of the back-up powering systems for its more than 430 fibre optic nodes located on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera. When complete, the $1.5 million upgrade will result in greatly extended continuation of service in the event of a commercial electricity outage.

Cable Bahamas Vice President of Engineering John Gomez explained that this is part of the company's continuous efforts to eliminate interruptions in service. "The company has spent millions of dollars over the last decade to build in redundancy and increase reliability to its network and systems," Gomez stated. "This upgrade is another important step to enhance our outside plant."

Mr Gomez said, "The upgrade is an important investment in protecting the integrity of our network and ensuring our customers receive world-class reliability. We know how critical it is for our residential and commercial customers to be able to maintain services during commercial power outages," Gomez stated. "Our real-world experience has shown that the new powering system stands up well to the challenge of electricity outages."

The Cable Bahamas distribution network is a hybrid fibre-coax design, which uses a combination of fibre optics and coaxial cabling to deliver service to cable subscribers. Fibre optic technology is used to transport signals from the central processing facility to each neighbourhood of approximately 100 subscribers. The node then converts that optical signal so that it can be transported and received into each subscriber's home over coaxial cable. The optical node requires electricity to carry out its function and is normally powered by the commercial power supply on utility poles or via underground conduits.

"Should the node lose power it can no longer pass cable signals through to the customer."  Explained Gomez, "Until these new power units were put in service the average back-up power time was approximately one hour. The new powering systems utilise extended life gel batteries and other new technologies that can provide up to seven hours of back-up power, a 700% increase. This means that cable services will continue uninterrupted even if commercial power has been lost."

The new powering systems also provide status monitoring that allows Cable Bahamas to remotely access and review the status of the gel-sets and power supplies. Engineers can now ensure the systems are operating at optimal levels and can respond to any situations in the field if necessary. The company's 24x7 Network Operations Centre in Nassau has full visibility to the company's power network, has remote access for testing and can also review historical data to track outages.

Mr Gomez confirmed that the network power upgrade has been completed on New Providence and work is about to commence in Grand Bahama to upgrade all node power supplies on that island. Abaco and Eleuthera will also be upgraded before the end of 2006.

"In Nassau we have already seen a dramatic impact on our customers' experience as they have continued to receive our broadband services even during a power outage," Mr Gomez asserted. "This means that customers with their own generators or long-life UPS's are able to continue watching TV and can stay online during an outage. Response from our customers during the recent spate of commercial outages has been excellent."

Cable Bahamas Ltd. is majority owned by 2,500 Bahamians and the Government of the Bahamas. The company's 280 employees provide: (1) world-class cable broadband services on 16 Bahamian islands; (2) high-speed Internet access services and digital cable television service on Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera and New Providence; telecommunications services between The Bahamas and the rest of the world with an 800-kilometer submarine fiber-optic system owned and operated by Caribbean Crossings Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary; and (4) web-hosting, data center and disaster recovery services through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Maxil Communications Ltd. Cable Bahamas' ordinary shares trade on the Bahamas International Stock Exchange (Symbol: CAB).

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