Wednesday’s island-wide power outage led to a domino disruption in other services such as telecommunications. Notably, customers on TSTT’s bMobile network were most affected, complaining of an inability to contact loved ones.
In an explanation to Guardian Media, the company said this occurred because of the duration of the outage. The blackout occurred minutes before 1 pm on Wednesday and while most of the country was reconnected late that night, some areas were left in the dark until early Thursday morning.
TSTT said while its main network sites are equipped with standby generators that can provide 24 hours of run time, many of its 610 remote mobile sites have standby batteries. These, it said, were only designed to provide around four hours of reserve power in such a situation.
“While designed to last up to four hours, based on load, the back-up capability can be less. Given that the outage lasted over four hours, some of those locations went into outage and customers would have experienced challenges accessing voice and data services on the mobile network,” it said.
It said this would have also resulted in some customers losing access to data services.
“Some of our customers would also have experienced, for a short period of time, difficulty accessing data on their mobile devices. We alleviated this challenge by implementing a temporary APN bypass. Although that was regularised quickly as indicated, some customers would not have had service if they were in proximity to locations where the battery back-up power ran out,” it said.
“Our team actively monitored the situation and remained in close contact with the utility provider and fuel partners throughout the ordeal. By 1 am on February 17, 90 per cent of our nodes were back in service and by 10 am approximately 100 per cent of our cell sites were on-air,” it said.
The company, however, noted that its data centre and cloud services were uninterrupted by the blackout.
“The redundancy we engineered performed as designed. Despite the loss of commercial power, all Data Centre and Cloud Services were unimpacted. There was 100 per cent uptime and all systems remained fully functional,” it said.
The company was not yet in a position to speak about any possible improvements to its infrastructure for future incidents.