TelEm Group scaling back planned “Shutdown” Tuesday to limit impact to Emergency services

TelEm Group has revised plans to shut down telecommunication services Tuesday evening after consulting with the Bureau of Telecommunication and Post (BTP) and Emergency services that would be affected.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, said the island’s telecommunication regulator, BTP, and representatives of the island’s Emergency Services called the company Tuesday morning after learning about the planned shutdown in the print, electronic and online media.

He said there was especially concern that the planned shutdown could continue for up to four hours, adversely affecting Emergency services to the public, including services of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).

In an explanation to the BTP and to the Emergency services, TelEm Group explained Tuesday that the “Shutdown” announced would not have been a total shutdown but a step by step operation – within a four-hour maintenance window.

Mr. Dupersoy said although the works were announced as a four-hour shutdown late Monday evening, the fact is, technicians had allowed themselves the four-hour window from 11:00 pm until 3:00 am the following day, to complete all that is required for the maintenance and system configuration.

“In actual fact, the announced “shutdown” would not have totally affected everyone, including the Emergency services, for the entire four hours during the maintenance window, but it was important for the public to be made aware of the possibility,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

The TelEm Group Chief said the maintenance and configuration works will now be put back to Thursday evening, also from 11:00 pm, to provide more time for the Emergency services to better prepare for interruptions in their telecommunication services that might be caused by the network maintenance.

He also indicated that following a review by the company’s technical team, another technique will be deployed to complete the work in less time and with less impact on the Emergency Services and customers generally.

As an additional safeguard, the technical team has also been instructed to coordinate with the Emergency Services, banks and other large affected companies to synchronize the maintenance works with these companies to minimize their downtime when the maintenances take place on Thursday evening.

“It is hoped that with these additional measures in place, the BTP, the Emergency Services, the banks and others will be more assured about the works ahead and how they stand to be affected,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

“I have been assured that the outages to telecommunication services throughout the island and also including the Emergency Services will be greatly minimized and we are working along with these services to ensure that all goes as planned,” said Mr. Dupersoy, confirming that Thursday’s works will employ a “section by section method to limit impact on our customers.’

The CEO apologized to customers and the general public for not making the message about the maintenance widow clearer and the impact on the services.

Mr. Dupersoy assured that the upcoming activities are essential to maintain quality of services within the company’s telecommunication network which had been operating erratically within the past weeks.