My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case

“At 8:35 am this morning (yesterday) we lost several fibre pairs on our underground fibre route from our Caymanas switch building; however, service was not interrupted as traffic was automatically rerouted to our backup aerial fibre route. However, 50 minutes later, at approximately 9:25 am, we sustained damage to our backup fibre route as well, which traverses a completely different path as part of our network resiliency. This resulted in service interruption to our customers”

Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien explaining the Data and Voice Service outage on Digicel’s Network to the Jamaica Observer

On Wednesday January 8th 2014, the unthinkable happened. Vandals cut both the primary and Backup OC-36 Fiber Optic Cables connected to Digicel’s Ericsson MSC (Mobile Switching Center) located in the Caymanas Park area as reported in the article “Double vandalism cripples Digicel - Reward offered to catch those responsible”, Published Thursday January 9, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Digicel, Columbus Communications blame vandals for network outage”, published Thursday, January 09, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

Digicel and Columbus Communications, the parent company of FLOW, have since jointly offered a reward (or bounty?) of JA$1,000,000 for information leading to the arrest of the Vandals who cut their Fiber Optic Cables. This is really an attack on National Security of Jamaica, as Telecommunications Providers carry traffic that makes working in a globalized environment in real time possible.

I initially thought of Mr. Philpott Martin, the Digicel Hacker who had hacked Digicel DWS and MINSAT Servers back in 2009 and the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) in early January 2013 as stated in my blog article entitled “Mr. Philpott Martin is the DPP and Digicel Hacker - Jamaica Cybercrimes first Django Unchained makes it clear that Digicel's MINSAT and DWS are hackable”.

If you’re a follower of my writings on the Geezam blog, you’d realize that this is also the location of Digicel Tier-3 Data Center as pointed out in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel’s Cloud Backup Services – A deep Analysis” and my blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Backup Service and future Cloud-Based Services - V.S Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas”. This means access to their Data Center was also affected along with Voice Traffic to their MSC.

Whoever cut the Cables knew what they were doing. They had the right equiptment and knew enough about Digicel’s Network to know that the fiber Optic Cables they were damaging would take down that portion of their Network.

Thus they knew that they had to cut both Primary (Underground) and Backup (Aerial) Fiber Optic OC-36 Cables be cut, both of which are Armoured Fiber Optic Cable and aren’t that easy to cut, even by rodents. Triple Play Provider FLOW wasn’t the intended target; they were clearly targeting Digicel’s “4G” Mobile and Broadband Network, specifically their 3.5G Wireless Broadband Network and their WiMaX (IEEE 802.16d) Wireless Broadband Network.

Digicel spent the better part of Wednesday January 8th 2014 getting that part of their Network back on air. In addition they also gave Data Rebates to “4G” customers as stated in “Digicel rebates 4G customers after service interruption”, Published Thursday January 9, 2014 12:40 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Police reasoning on Vandals spot on - Digicel Cable Vandals were Vybz Kartel lovin’ Fiber Optic Contractors

So who did it then?

The police theorize that it may have to do with the pending case against Dancehall Entertainer Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidjah Palmer as stated in “Destruction of fibre optics cable, hotel robbery may be attempts to intimidate witnesses, police say” published Saturday, January 11, 2014 9:29 AM, The Jamaica Observer. He’s being jointly charged along with Shawn Campbell also known as Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams and Andre St John for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

Thus far, for those for those of you who follow Dancehall and their shenanigans, the evidence seems to be melting away as his case resumed on Monday January 6th 2014 as stated in “VYBZ KARTEL TRIAL: Case Resumes In Home Circuit Court Today”, Published Monday January 6, 2014 8:57 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Apparently, Telecom Provider Digicel Group Head of Business Risk, Joseph Simmonds was to testify this week, specifically on Thursday January 9th 2013 as it relates to the ownership of phones found at the crime scene that were collected by the Police as stated in “VYBZ KARTEL TRIAL: Telecoms Expert To Testify Today”, Published Thursday January 9, 2014 8:33 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Curiously too, Group Head of Business Risk at Digicel, Joseph Simmonds testified that none of the 40 phones recovered at the crime scene belonged to Vybz Kartel or any of the four (4) co-accused as noted in “None of 40 phone numbers registered to Kartel”, published Friday, January 10, 2014, BY PAUL HENRY Coordinator -- Crime/Court Desk, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus the Jamaican Police may be right, as this incident of vandalism seems too coincidental to just be merely disgruntled Fiber Optics Technicians. Most likely they are Vybz Kartel lovin’ Fiber Optic Contractors.

Still it seems a bit too simple a conclusion. But if it’s the case, then it’s a testament to the degree to which persons before the Courts with Cash to spend will go to escape Criminal conviction! Hopefully someone is caught and convicted, as that would make a great story on my blog!

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