The Web, Customer Service and the Importance of Communication
Pretentious title eh? Seriously though, I won't be the first in stating that we don't realise how essential the internet has become until we lose it. Yes internet is a means of communication and Communication in all its forms is vital to convey any message or a specific message....
This weekend (on Friday in this part of the world), I tried to have a little bit of chit-chat with my friends but was surprised that my home network provided a nil result in connectivity. Having installed a fax line on the same morning, I immediately assumed that I must have messed up some of the internal cables.
So I texted my best friend and he phoned me back to say that this was a country wide problem and that I shouldn't worry. It is hoped that things would be back in order in less than a week. Trusting his advice completely I let it go at that; there was no need to become frantic. Que sera sera….
But it got me pondering about all the emails, work, reading and stuff that we do online and how much being in touch with the outside world has had an enormous impact on our lives. A similar technical problem occurred in the region at the beginning of this year anyway and turned out to be related to some 'force majeure' type of infrastructure accident; then things got back to normal.
I was optimistic that internet being so important for business and since
At around midnight both Libyana and Madar customers received a text message in which the "General Authority for Telecom was informing us that there are problems in international communication and the WWW due to a number of severed submarine cables in the Mediterranean basin and that the workers in the telecom sector were doing their best to provide alternative solutions to restore communication". I was actually impressed when I received this message. To me it meant that the people at the Libyan PTT and LTT were really trying to find a solution. This also scored an additional point for customer service delivery; even though I did wish they had sent that country-wide cellphone message in English as well for the non- Arab community in
LTT do have a message to customers in English on their website (not sure when did they put it up ) though and their website was one of the few still accessible on Friday.
"Libya Telecom and Technology would like to inform its customers that the problems in the internet connection are a result of main communication cable problems, which has affected the entire Mediterranean region. Our Employees are giving their best efforts to return service through alternative networks."
It came as no surprise that internet connectivity was restored yesterday morning (i.e. in less than 24hrs) even though it was considerably slower. Today the connection is faster than dial-up but slower than our usual ADSL - which is to be expected due to congestion in traffic. I mean "major damage to the internet backbone can cause major problems despite redundancy which allows some re-routing. The loss of so much bandwidth is likely to have an impact".
Kudos to the Libya team for delivering on their promise (whatever way they managed to do it, via satellite or even if it meant making the necessary phone calls at least we are back online).
Tarek Siala has noted the same thing " ولكن الذي أعجبني وأثار إهتمامي هو قدرة شركة ليبيا للإتصالات والتقنية على إعادة الإنترنت في ثاني يوم (السبت) مباشرة، فبينما لازالت بقية الدول" تعاني من إنقطاع الإنترنت، كانت الإنترنت متوفرة في ليبيا،
This BBC article shed some additional light on the issue."We've lost three out of four lines. If the fourth cable breaks, we're looking at a total blackout in the
Three out of four is a major problem, and as
From the comment section of the BBC again I can see that this latest of cable cuts has affected the net in various countries as far away as Australia and the US and as near as Malta and the UK. I did not hear the Australians comparing themselves to a third world country.
The following article references a number of such cuts that occurred in several places worldwide. It also shows maps of the fiber optic submarine cable locations and which can potentially affect a country or group of countries or regions. Not one single sentence mentions a third world experience!
It is often said that communication is a powerful tool. I agree 100%, don't you ;)