Pacific islands cable breaks, cutting off phones, Internet

A telecommunications outage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has eased slightly.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 10, 2015, 15:25 PM IST

Hagatna (Guam): A telecommunications outage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has eased slightly.

A break in an undersea cable had disconnected the islands' telecommunications with Guam and the rest of the world, but some phone connection has been restored.

The Guam Pacific Daily News reported telecommunication company IT&E said limited voice connections have been established between Guam and Saipan.

A company spokesman told The Associated Press that the commonwealth's population of more than 51,000 had been without service. He said they don't know how many are still without service.

The outage had cut phone, banking, Internet and other communications. It has also affected credit-card purchases, withdrawals from ATMs and all other communications that go through the islands' only fiber-optic cable connection to the outside world.

When the undersea cable snapped, no phone calls could be made into the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday unless people had access to one of the few satellite phones on the main island of Saipan.

The cause of the undersea cable break remains under investigation, but IT&E had said the break was a result of complications from recent storms. It may take days to determine the extent of the damage to the cable on the seabed and how long repairs will take, IT&E said.