Montserrat’s subsea fibre-optic cable project progresses steadily

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IT Intrepid

BRADES, Montserrat –  Work on the installation of the new submarine fibre optic cable system on Montserrat continues steadily towards completion.

Last Sunday, the marine installation operations for the Montserrat Submarine Fibre Optic Cable commence, following the arrival of the ship ‘IT Intrepid’, which will lay the cable. The ship came to Montserrat from Curacao, where it picked up the cable which specially manufactured for the Montserrat project in France earlier this year.

Montserrat Submarine fibre cable

The installation will reconnect the island to the global information superhighway, through submarine fibre optic cables linked to Antigua and Guadeloupe. The ship’s first task will be to locate and retrieve the existing Southern Caribbean Fibre ‘Segment 11’ between Guadeloupe and Antigua where the Branching Unit will be inserted.

On Tuesday, June 30, the shore end operations in Bunkum Bay commence. The cable ship IT Intrepid will be present off Bunkum Bay on Wednesday, July 1 to carry out the cable transfer to shore.

Head of the Department for Information Technology and e-Government Services (DITES) and project manager for the Montserrat Submarine Fibre Project, Denzil West explained what the shore end operations entail and the next steps:

“This involves landing the cable on the beach and securing it in the newly constructed Beach Manhole. The ship will then travel away from the beach laying the cable out to the branching unit in the ocean North East of Montserrat. After the cable is connected to the Branching Unit, the IT Intrepid will return to Bunkum Bay on Saturday, July 4 to perform tests that verify the connection from Montserrat to Guadeloupe and Montserrat to Antigua.” 

During this work, access to Bunkum Bay will be restricted on Tuesday, June 30, Wednesday, July 1 and Saturday, July 4 while the ship is operating there.  Although the submarine connections should be completed and tested by Sunday, July 5, the cable will not be ready for service until the end of August 2020.

The installations for the Terrestrial Fibre Cable and the Cable Landing Station delayed by COVID-19 related restrictions are ongoing and should be completed by the middle of August 2020.

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