Docomo Pacific Internet operations manager Dan Camacho shared with members of Rotary Club of Saipan the system and infrastructure changes currently underway within the cable and telecommunications company following the destruction wrought by Typhoon Soudelor.
“We are back online but not the entire island. The southern part of the island is fine but the north has teams working to repair the damages to the cables,” he said.
“We are working on building our own undersea fiber optic cable which will lower the rates for our customers,” he said.
Currently, Docomo is buying bandwidth from IT&E to support their cable services, which operates at a 5-second delay.
“Live satellite has been reinstated and we have 59 channels total,” he said.
He shared that pay-per-view is a future possibility and that the public access channel with live feeds of legislative sessions is still on-going.
Camacho adds that the main reason it’s taking long to repair their cables is that their current system uses specific amplifiers, cables, and transmitters that are no longer in the market.
“We were forced to upgrade which is good for our customers but the downfall is that it’s taking us longer because we are rebuilding our entire infrastructure,” he said.
Docomo expects to see improvements that match services in Guam with live streaming and television, Internet, and cable bundles.
When asked to comment on hidden or additional fees these improvements may require, Camacho stated, “They will be assessed based upon bandwidth. Any increase won’t be a lot, maybe just a few cents.”
“Right now the infrastructure is being focused on to prepare the connection to the undersea cable,” he said.
Restoration of Internet Services
Camacho said Internet connectivity to homes has not been restored as of yet.
“We’ll be activating our cable modem services when we repair the cables but the speeds will still be same due to bandwidth constraints,” he said.
When the undersea fiber optic cable is installed, cable, telephone, and Internet should be improved upstream and downstream.
He estimates that this should cost $40 million or more and notes that there will be changes in billing.
Members of Rotary express that they hope this levels the playing field.
“With any competition,” he says, “there will be a price drop in service, hopefully.”