After an unexpected glitch in the undersea fiber optic cable in July 2015 that triggered a telecommunications blackout in the CNMI, the Commonwealth finally got its second underwater cable yesterday.
ATISA, the fiber optic network cable of Docomo Pacific Inc., officially landed on Saipan yesterday. The ceremonial landing of the cable from the sea to connect to land was held on the shores of Aquarius Beach. ATISA will then continue its journey to Tinian and Rota to ultimately connect the islands.
ATISA allows data up to 100 gigabits to travel in three channels that could handle 100 gigabits of data each channel. The results will deliver faster internet connections and 4G and LTE speeds. Once the islands are connected, the commercial launch is in August 2017.
“We started planning this project in August 2015. We met with shareholders and talked about having a serious look in building our own cable. The cost of the old cable was very expensive and when it was cut, it paved the way for us to build our own. We made it better by connecting the islands to the world faster and at a reasonable price,” said Jonathan Kriegel, CEO of Docomo Pacific Inc.
ATISA, a Chamorro word that means to accelerate, to increase speed, or a glow of light, is intended to fortify Docomo Pacific’s current services. Aside from faster internet and mobile connections, it will bring Tivo, which is Docomo’s television entertainment system.
“Tivo has this feature called universal search where you can search YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. All services are going to improve 10-fold,” said Danny Daniels, brand manager of Docomo Pacific Inc.
“The project is on schedule,” assured Liezl Balan, ATISA project manager. “The cable is here but there is still a lot to be done. We have a good team both on land and sea, making sure that ATISA is in place and secure. Once we know we have a solid fleet of products and services, we launch in August this year.”
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his family graced yesterday’s occasion. “We had an experience a couple of years ago where the island was unconnected. Not being able to communicate with the rest of the world was an eye-opener, that is why we welcome Docomo Pacific Inc. for making an investment and thank all government agencies for making it possible. It is a partnership. The faster we do this, the faster the services will reach the people.”