According to local press reports, customers of Sint Maarten-based internet service provider (ISP) CaribServe, have suffered severe outages for the second time this month after unspecified problems relating to the SMPR-1 submarine cable, which is managed by state-owned agency SMITCOMS. The 374km SMPR-1 link – which connects the former Netherlands Antilles island nation with facilities in Isla Verda, Puerto Rico managed by Telecomunicaciones Ultramarinas de Puerto Rico (UltraCom) – has been in operation since 2004. An unnamed US-based cable vendor has been enlisted to find a solution to the problem, and a CaribServe spokesperson told the press: ‘Technicians at the upstream data provider have been contacted and are working to resolve the disturbance to the submarine cable to restore full service to our customers as soon as possible. CaribServe sincerely regrets the intermittent disruptions to the broadband service of our customers as a result of this outage. Our technical team is committed to restoring service fully as soon as possible’. Aside from its landing stations in Puerto Rico and Sint Maarten, the SMPR-1 cable also has points of presence (PoP) in Miami, Florida and at the E-Commerce Park in nearby Curacao.
CaribServe, which provides ADSL and WiMAX connectivity in Sint Maarten and ADSL services to Saint Martin, the French side of the island, is generally perceived to be the country’s largest broadband provider by subscribers. In June 2008 CaribServe was acquired by pan-Caribbean telco United Telecommunication Services (UTS), which is based on neighbouring Curacao.