The phone system went down yesterday. Every single phone on the island was down. All telecommunications stopped. A power surge at the Hagåtña central switch burned out a rectifier causing the entire island telecommunication system to shut down shortly after noon yesterday. No internet, no cash from the ATM, no credit card transactions, no phone calls, no 911, not even cellphones were working. We have our own private WAN at work with the corporate office in California, but the T1 line was down as well.
GTA was struggling to install a replacement rectifier and bring the system back up last night. GTA general manager Lawrence Perez explained the problem to the PDN:
“This situation could’ve been avoided twofold: First, if all of our backup rectifiers were repaired,” Perez said. “And two, our personnel should’ve caught this before it occurred.”
The Hagåtña central office has seven rectifiers, with three that are supposed to act as backup converters. However, three of them were burned out by similar power spikes during the last administration and were never replaced, Perez said.
Perez said he is looking into why the three rectifiers were not replaced, and that the agency is now working on emergency purchase orders to replace the three backup rectifiers.
In the time honored tradition of Guam politics, blame the previous administration.
At the same time as this crisis struck the island, the legislature met to approve two bills that would finalize the sale of GTA to winning bidder TeleGuam Holdings. It looks like the privatization of the island’s phone system is a done deal.