Wednesday, June 13, 2018
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Aliv yesterday moved to reassure Bahamians that its nationwide infrastructure was fully prepared to withstand a 2018 hurricane season projected to feature 13 named storms.
Damian Blackburn, the mobile operator's top executive, said: "We have ensured that this hurricane season we have teams stationed in all islands where Aliv is currently operational, as well as customer care teams that persons can contact should they need assistance during a storm.
"We are aware, however, that as prepared as we may be when these unfortunate incidents take place, anything is possible. We want persons to prepare well in advance, buy the necessary items listed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), pay close attention to alerts/warnings, top up your wallet and make sure your devices are fully charged."
ALIV has activated its 2018 Hurricane Season Preparation Mode and, to the best of its ability, tested and implemented hurricane preparedness initiatives in New Providence as well as all Family Islands where the operator has launched.
Stephen Curran, Aliv's chief innovator, said: "We've got 229 live sites all through The Bahamas, of which 90 percent have a back-up diesel generator or a fuel cell which will give power to the cell site if the grid goes offline, which happens quite a lot during hurricanes.
"Also, we have added extra batteries to two-thirds of the cell sites, giving us extra time just in case the generator doesn't start. We've also worked on a programme to improve transmission resilience, which is how we get connectivity from the cell sites back to the main switching centres.
"Finally, God forbid there is a catastrophe where the full core network in Nassau is destroyed, the second building in Grand Bahama can run the entire network."
As for Aliv's Information Technology (IT) readiness, Dwayne Davis, its chief solutions architect, said the protocol has been changed slightly due to the new islands Aliv now serves.
"For the 2017 hurricane season Aliv was impacted minimally, given that New Providence was not affected, and that the ALIV network - at that time - was not rolled out in the southern Family Islands," he said.
"So for 2018 it is going to be different, and our plan is even more robust taking into consideration recovery not only for all of the main islands but the southern islands as well. This year, with a combination of IT operations and engineering, we are ready for the 2018 hurricane season."