Fire causes severe damage to telecommunications to the center of Cuba

Fire causes severe damage to telecommunications to the center of CubaHAVANA, June 26 A fire at a technological site of the Etecsa in Santa Clara has left thousands of mobile phones without service in four provinces of the country. The incident also affected cell numbers that begin with 54, 55 and 56.

Etecsa said in a statement that it had managed to restore telephones with this numbering, although last night the service remained cut off for most of the clients in Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Pinar del Río.

The fire started at 11 a.m. this Monday and at noon, preventively, the mobile service was deactivated in the three central provinces of the country, commented to the CMHW radio station Gustavo Montesinos, general director of the state monopoly in Villa Clara territory.

The local fire is located on Villuendas street between Marta Abreu and Rafael Trista, very close to the center of the capital of Villa Clara.

Montesinos explained to the local media that the fire spread through the fourth floor of the building where the main mobile telephone platforms of the central provinces are located. To calm the flames it was necessary the intervention of 20 firemen, who worked for two hours, and 37 fire extinguishers but the mobile services throughout the center of the country were cut in a “preventive” manner.

“In the case of the place where the fire is concentrated there is technological equipment, of course it is not the main equipment, there are the battery banks, the climate equipment, the rectifiers (…) it was necessary to use water as a means of extinction, this affects our equipment and to the extent that we evaluate the situation we can give a more accurate diagnosis, “the official told the television.

Montesinos affirmed that the causes of the fire will be determined and will adopt the anticipated contingency measures. Subsequently, the damaged numbers service will be restarted.

Ilda María Arias Pérez, commercial vice president of Etecsa, took part in the evening news to explain the situation and said that it was in the process of being solved although the problems were maintained for the users of Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos and those who were using 2G technology in Pinar del Río.

“In my house we have all been affected because we have mobile lines that have been activated more recently, in recent years, which are just the ones that start with 54, 55 and 56,” Romualdo Castillo, an Etecsa client, told 14ymedio resident in the city of Pinar del Río.

“We are trying to provisionally restore the 2G technology in Pinar del Río until we can find the definitive solution but we must wait for our technicians to enter the telecommunications center and assess the magnitude of the damage.

Depending on this result we can decide what to do technically. Parallel we are looking for alternatives but if you can restore the equipment there, it would be easier. Otherwise it would be necessary to replace technology and that if we must specify it tomorrow, “said Arias Pérez.

The fire comes at a time when users are waiting for the activation of the web browsing service on mobile phones, a long-awaited feature that Etecsa has ensured will be finalized before the end of this year.

Last April the company reported that the five million active mobile telephone lines had been reached throughout the country (there were only 43,000 in 2003). However, with a coverage of 43% of the population, the Island still lags behind Latin America, which has a 65% penetration of mobile telephony.