The Telecommunications Emergency Preparedness and Response Policy aims to ensure the Islands have resilient networks that enable the availability and operability of telecoms services in disaster scenarios.
The 2017 hurricane season is unlikely to be forgotten for those living in the Caribbean, featuring 17 named storms, ten hurricanes, and six major hurricanes.
For the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria resulted in substantial damage to its telecommunications infrastructure. Significant network and infrastructure damage resulted in the loss of connectivity between the Islands and outage to the mobile network, with restoration taking up to ten days.
Loss of communications during the disaster impacted the rescue and recovery efforts, leaving the government unable to communicate with citizens and lacking coordination of emergency services.
As learned during this period, having a robust plan to recover communications is essential and often requires industry-wide cooperation.
To address this, the Turks and Caicos Islands Regulator has developed a Telecommunications Emergency Preparedness and Response Policy (TEPRP) after recognising a need for a better coordinated and cooperative response in an emergency. The policy lays out new obligations on telecoms network operators, designed to facilitate a coordinated response in emergency situations and support the continuity of communications.
Cenerva provided consultancy services to support the Commission throughout the development of the TEPRP including technical and policy advice, research, document drafting, stakeholder management and consultation, and project management.
This case study was the topic of a webinar delivered by Cenerva and the Commission, and hosted by CANTO, the leading telecommunications trade organisation in the Caribbean which is recognised internationally for its leadership in the industry.
Here’s the recording if you missed the webinar:
You can also download the slides used in the presentation via our Knowledge Hub.
Finding best practices and developing industry cooperation
The TEPRP identifies obligations that apply across the four phases of disasters defined by the ITU: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
The Commission and Cenerva worked with key stakeholders to create the new policy to ensure telecoms operators have plans in place for disaster recovery, intended to keep communications networks operational. This includes requirements for backup facilities which can be deployed quickly and support for key government and emergency communications channels.
Kenva Williams, Director General of the TCTC, comments:
“The policy we’ve developed with the support of Cenerva provides a genuine step-change in our emergency preparedness and response and will help to protect Islanders and bring safeguards for the future.”
“We understand the operational pressures at play in small islands, having completed many projects in the Caribbean and other islands around the world, and are highly experienced in navigating their political complexities.”
“In these uncertain times where the global community faces a range of challenges both natural and man-made, being better prepared is essential. We’re delighted to have been able to play our part in helping the Turks and Caicos Islands prepare for future disasters should they occur.”
Access expert advisors
Cenerva is a world-leading regulatory policy consultancy, providing expert advice and support to help clients navigate the complex challenges of today’s digital economy.
We have a depth of experience working with Small Island Developing States. Its team has completed projects in many Caribbean jurisdictions, including Trinidad, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands, and St Lucia.
Further afield, we have worked in Mauritius, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and almost all the Pacific islands.
If you would like to speak to us about protection of telecoms networks and services in disasters and emergencies contact Cenerva today.
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