Barbados’ leading telecommunications provider is confirming that all systems are in place for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began on June 1.
According to the National Hurricane Centre, the 2019 season is expected to be ‘near-normal’ with a 40 per cent chance there will be between nine and 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher).
“Nothing beats preparation. It must be a priority for everyone including regional governments and organisations like ours,” said Chief Executive Officer of C&W Communications Inge Smidts.
“Leading by example, C&W has been actively preparing for the hurricane season and has already completed a series of rigorous hurricane drills across its markets. The company has also launched customer awareness campaigns encouraging everyone to be on high alert and ready to take the necessary steps to safeguard their families and property.”
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was extremely catastrophic with damage totalling over US$299 billion making it the costliest tropical cyclone season ever recorded. Since then, C&W has invested approximately US$50 million in hurricane restoration efforts across its Caribbean operations.
Some of this funding went towards upgrading cellular towers in impacted markets to higher category-rated models built specifically to withstand more extreme wind conditions. Additionally, the company’s world-class subsea network remains one of the most secure subsea cable systems in this hemisphere, with increased redundancy added by building alternative routes for data and mobile traffic in the event of an emergency.
“While we are hopeful that no customers will be impacted during this year’s hurricane season, we must also ensure that we are ready to face that reality if it comes. We are enormously proud of how our network performed in the hurricane-impacted islands in 2017 and we know that our customers were relieved that they could have access to family and friends during that time,” added Smidts.
“We have invested in strengthening our networks, whether through new and improved technology or ensuring we have alternate ways to back up our data and mobile traffic in case any part of our network is compromised. We continue to hold true to our commitment to keep our customers connected to family and friends, especially during the moments that matters most, such as during times of disaster,” she said. (PR)