This Decision addresses matters within the Telecommunications Commission’s (“Commission”) authority raised in Digicel (TCI) Ltd.’s (“Digicel”) complaint dated October 31, 2017 (the “Complaint”) regarding certain alleged conduct by Cable & Wireless (TCI) Limited (“Flow”) during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
In the Complaint, Digicel claimed that the network outage it suffered at the time was deliberately caused by Flow when it disconnected an underground backhaul fiber link that was to be supplied by Flow under a Cooperation Agreement entered by Digicel and Flow just prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Digicel claimed that Flow’s actions in this regard were anti-competitive, in breach of the Interconnection Regulations as well as reckless and undertaken without regard for the welfare of the public. Based on the information provided in the Complaint, Digicel asked the Commission to impose an obligation on Flow to provide access to certain services on terms and conditions subject to Commission approval.
Following the receipt of the Complaint, the Commission asked Flow and Digicel to provide two rounds of responses and replies relating to the matters raised in the Complaint. It also asked Digicel and Flow to provide data on their respective international transmission capacities.
Based on its review of the Complaint and the related submissions, the Commission reached the following conclusions:
The Commission denies Digicel’s claim that the network outage it suffered during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which was caused by Flows’ disconnection of an underground backhaul fiber link, was anti-competitive.
The Commission also denies Digicel’s claim that the loss of local interconnectivity that resulted from this same action by Flow was a breach of the Interconnection Regulations.
Consequently, the Commission denies Digicel’s requested relief related to these claims.
The Commission considers that the network outage suffered by Digicel in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma highlights the need for a more formal and comprehensive emergency preparedness plan in TCI. Therefore, in its Decision, the Commission directs Digicel and Flow to jointly develop an Emergency Preparedness Agreement that encompasses a telecommunications network capacity backup plan, together with implementation measures, that would be in place in times of national emergencies, including those resulting from severe weather events. Submissions in this regard are to be filed within 45 days of this Decision. The Commission will then decide on what further process should occur to finalize an Emergency Preparedness Agreement.