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PITA Statement on Catastrophic Loss of Communications to The Pacific

As a result of the catastrophic failure that resulted in complete loss of the Pacific Ocean primary satellite, INTELSAT 802 located at 174 degrees east, all Pacific Islands countries lost all of their international communications and internet services, some have also lost national communications.

All parties affected, including the carriers supplying services to the Pacific, have strongly expressed their gross disappointment and frustration with Intelsat's response to this disaster and the limited restoration facilities offered taking far too long to implement. From the length of time taken (over 4 days) not to have restored services fully, and from the often conflicting information given by Intelsat, it is obvious that no restoration or contingency plans existed. These has led all of the island countries affected to be greatly concerned at the grave situation that their countries have been placed in by this failure and at the lack of restoration and contingencies plans.

In addition to the loss of all services including emergency services, there were significant losses on revenue due to this outage and erosion of trust from customers and government due to the length of time it has taken to restore services. Furthermore, the costs incurred by islands administrations for implementing the limited restorations offered by Intelsat will be running into tens of thousands of dollars per country.

With this unprecedented experience of the complete loss of communications affecting all the Pacific island countries, the delays in restoration and the costs involved, the Pacific island countries are requesting that Intelsat provide a detailed explanation of how they intend to rectify the situation and to prevent a repetition by developing comprehensive restoration plans for continuity of services, including Intelsat long term plans for the region.

Chief Executive Officers of most of the Pacific Island countries who are in Honolulu to hold annual bilateral talks with their key suppliers had to divert all attentions to restorations of services. Several meetings at the PITA Forum and individually have been held with Intelsat representatives. CEOs are strenuously pushing Intelsat to implement speedier restorations to all of the lost services and from start, while being able to meet with Intelsat representatives in Honolulu , have also been in close contact with their engineers through Iridium and Inmarsat satellite telephones to instruct on action plans and authorise additional means necessary to carry out restorations services required.

As to date, not one of the affected countries have been restored 100 per cent.

List of Countries and members affected:

  1. American Samoa
  2. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (partially as CNMI is also linked through undersea cables)
  3. Cook Islands
  4. Federated States of Micronesia
  5. French Polynesia
  6. Fiji (partially as Fiji is linked through undersea cables  Southern Cross)
  7. Kiribati
  8. New Caledonia
  9. Niue
  10. Norfolk Island
  11. Marshall Islands
  12. Republic of Palau
  13. Papua New Guinea (partially as PNG is also linked through undersea cables)
  14. Samoa
  15. Solomon Is lands
  16. Tokelau
  17. Tonga
  18. Tuvalu
  19. Vanuatu
  20. Telecom New Zealand (partially as TNZ is also lined through undersea cables)
  21. Telstra
  22. REACH(partially as Reach is also linked through undersea cables)
  23. Teleglobe
  24. MCI
  25. Optus




Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA)
18 th January 2005 .

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