Report Disaster Plan 2015
At the request of the Ministry of General Affairs, the Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post (BT&P) has contributed to a disaster plan which contains proposals to control risks and take measures in the telecommunications sector in case of disasters and emergencies.
In the scope of this request, the BT&P took stock of the various factors that need to be observed for risk control and disaster measures in Curaçao.
Among other things, this centers on which measures must be taken regarding supervision and continuity in risk-bearing cases and disaster situations. Factors that are addressed here pertain to the following key areas:
- The formalization and standardization of information numbers (disasters and emergencies)
- Network Continuity of telecommunications providers
- The development of a mobile telephone alarm system
The underlying objectives for these measures comprise, among other things, guaranteeing the safety of society, the continuity and guarantee of service provision and accessibility of the relevant institutions and organizations (for example the fire department, police department, care institutions, government) in case of emergencies and natural disasters and adopting and preparing a plan of action in such cases.
1. Formalization and standardization of disaster and emergency information numbers
An essential issue that was brought to the attention by the BT&P is making available one (or more) free 0800 information numbers for the public. These are numbers that must be available at all times along with the service and information departments connected to it, in case of a disaster or emergency. In that respect, the BT&P may be given a mandate by the Minister of Traffic, Transportation and Environmental Planning to issue such a 0800 number.
In the scope of preparation, concluding contracts by the government with all telecommunications providers is important for the realization of the connection with these numbers.
In case of a disaster, these numbers will need to be available to elect through all telecommunications providers. It is also important that awareness is raised among the public about the existence of these information lines and the purpose of this.
2. Network continuity of telecommunications providers
Considering the crucial nature of the network continuity in case of disasters and the effects of a breakdown in telecommunications or loss of the network infrastructure of the telecommunications providers on the controllability of an emergency or disaster situation, in 2014 the BT&P conducted a number of workshops and consultation rounds with concession holders in the field of telecommunications and network continuity.
Following this, BT&P also drafted a so-called “Network Continuity Requirements report” that was presented to concession holders.
The integration of the concept network continuity and the conditions connected with this in the policy and legislation frameworks for supervision on the telecommunications sector are also addressed. Examples of this include making back-up equipment and fallback systems compulsory, also preventive technical maintenance and determining detailed technical frameworks that the telecommunications networks must comply with.
The network continuity requirements have been determined on the basis of a number of principles:
- The conditions that have been set, which apply to critical locations (network servers and data centers) of the telecommunications providers: including built-in redundancy of components (in the field of maintenance, system failure tolerance and engine generator systems)
- Redundancy and back-up of the location
- Redundancy and back-up of the telecommunications network
- Location specific requirements that have been set: fire-resistance, optimal cooling, hurricane-resistance, continuity of power supply, location access restrictions
3. Mobile telephone alarm systems
Based on the survey by the BT&P regarding the deployment of mobile networks as warning systems for the public (Public Warning System) in case of emergencies and natural disasters, 2 options have been defined that may serve for this:
- Sending individual text messages to citizens in the impacted areas: this system is less suitable because mobile networks are not set up for simultaneous and particularly swift dispatch of large numbers of text messages, resulting in bottlenecks arising in the mobile infrastructure
- Applying Cell Broadcast Systems: these are specially set up broadcasting systems for quick distribution of warning signals and emergency messages without causing congestion.
Of the two warning systems, the Cell Broadcast System has preference because of the guaranty of continuity that it offers. This system is also applied by various countries across the world because of its reliability.
You may read more about the characteristics and advantages of a Cell Broadcast System.