Business grinds to a halt as country’s internet goes down

Wednesday October 23, 2019 Written by Published in Technology
Waiting for the eftpos to come up again, Joe Kaupo of Computer Man is still able to take payments the old way – by cheque. 19102210 Waiting for the eftpos to come up again, Joe Kaupo of Computer Man is still able to take payments the old way – by cheque. 19102210

An hour-long internet outage throughout Cook Islands yesterday was caused by an issue at the Hawai’i-based company that provides satellite internet.

 

The outage was for an hour, from 12.30pm, and affected both fixed line and mobile internet.

In downtown Avarua, shops were forced to turn away business.

Joe Kaupo of Computer Man said the outage affect their services and they could not carry on their normal day’s work.

All transactions had to be entered manually, while the internet was down.

Jetsave Travel and Western Union both said the internet was critical to the operation of their day-to-day business, so the hour-long outage at the peak of the day had adversely affected them.

Doors remained open for customers, they said, but only so they could advise them there were nothing they could to until they were back online.

Bluesky’s chief technical officer, Ngatama Aniterea said the Hawaii O3b outage disrupted their primary and international internet connectivity. “So all internet and mobile data users were affected,” he said.

The main gateway for O3b services is in Hawaii.  O3b indicated there was a break in upstream traffic from their two providers, but they managed to come back online after 40 minutes.

O3b is a network communications service provider that builds and operates a “constellation” of 20 satellites providing voice and data communications to countries that struggle to get good broadband internet.

"O3b" stands for "Other 3 billion", referring to the population of the world where broadband internet is not available.

When the new Manatua undersea cable connects up Rarotonga and Aitutaki to the world next year, the O3b network will still provide internet services for the other outer islands, and will serve as a backup when the cable goes down.

Aniterea said yesterday’s outage was being investigated and they were waiting for O3b to come back with the actual root cause.

In 2013, Cook Islands News reported that the Cook Islands was the first place in the world to install transmitters through service provider O3b to help provide high speed internet.

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