Sometime after midnight, thousands of Guyanese went offline, with internet services disrupted. The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company said that the blackout was due to damage to its submarine fibre optic cable. Local and international engineers worked to restore connectivity, and just after midday, the internet was back on.
However, the back-up plan – the so-called redundant cable – failed to do what it was supposed to do. Just about three years ago, GT&T plugged some US$30 million in a deal with its Surinamese counterpart to run a second fibre-optic cable to allow for a robust redundant superhighway – so when one cable is down the other will kick in – but that did not happen today.
The government, which once had shares in the company, said that the second cable was not up to speed as was originally thought. GT&T is the main provider of internet services in Guyana. The company has not yet offered a full statement about what exactly happened, and how it could ensure continued service in the future in the event of other damages to the cable.