Company threatens to cut Northern Marianas cable

In 2015, the only submarine cable connecting the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. Territory, was damaged by a boulder. It cut off all telecommunications to the U.S. Territory for several weeks. To obtain a second cable for the islands, the CNMI government signed an agreement to subsidize a second fiber optic cable.

Apparently there is now a dispute about the subsidy.

A telecommunications company in the Northern Marianas is threatening to cut the fibre optic cable that connects Tinian and Rota to Saipan if the government fails to provide $US1.3 million it promised to pay for the service.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed with the CNMI government in 2016, Docomo Pacific agreed to include Tinian and Rota in connecting their fibre optic cable 'ATISA' at a fee of $US650,000 per island.

Earlier this week, the House of Representative included the $US1.3 million commitment to the telco in the $US15 million appropriations bill that also gave $US7 million to the CNMI Judiciary to fix its mould and air-conditioning problems.

The legislation still needs to be passed by the senate and supported by the governor.