TelEm Group mobile, data networks ride out hurricane Gonzalo

All personnel requested to report for work Wednesday
TelEm Group management last night thanked the company’s team of technicians and engineers who kept voice and mobile date services up and running for customers badly affected by hurricane Gonzalo, Monday night and all day Tuesday.
The company closed its doors to the public Tuesday and instructed staff to remain home while managers, Procurement Department personnel, and Hurricane committee members assessed damage to the company’s telecommunication infrastructure.
Technicians, Outside Plant and IT personnel also reported for duty to restore services where necessary and maintain communication links for the island.
“We were very fortunate to have maintained services throughout the past two days and we are proud that customers were able to make use of their mobile phones and send internet messages to friends and family to let them know how they fared from what turned out to be a surprisingly strong hurricane,” said TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer, (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel.
She said management is most grateful to all those who manned their stations Tuesday and is thanking personnel for their commitment to their customers and the St. Maarten public.
According to Technical staff, very few of the company’s network of cell sites were affected by the passing of hurricane Gonzalo, despite some fierce winds. Amongst those affected were cell sites in the Lowlands area, Cupe Coy, Pelican and Saunders.
“In the few areas that we experienced some problems, some customers were still able to obtain service from other cell sites close by, and that has also pleased our network operators, said TelEm Group’s Chief Technical Officer, (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa.
He said personnel had prepared well for Hurricane Gonzalo Monday once a warning of deteriorating weather conditions was announced. He said although the preparations were initially for a much less damaging tropical storm, they very quickly moved up a notch once it was known the Gonzalo was building up to hurricane strength.
Mr. Louisa thanked his technical staff for their diligent work Tuesday, noting that their response once the all-clear was given after the passing of the storm, was quick and efficient.
Management says it will be opening its doors again to the public Wednesday for normal business hours and also expects personnel to report in for a normal work day.