tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

Six Brazilian States left without communications to outside world!

with 5 comments

Six States in Brazil were without telephone or internet connectivity from December 21, to December 29 due to a fire (?!). I can find no information on this matter in any major news source, but a friend who lives there assures me of the veracity of this information. It seems rather odd that so many people would be cut-off from the outside world, and nobody knows anything about it.
As soon as I have more information from my friend, I will post it.
Probably I will just come back and edit this post.
In the meantime, if YOU know anything about this matter, please contact me or comment here.

OKAY, Updates. 2011/01/01 – 9:45 am EST
Happy New Year!
Now, the fire was in the Telephone Plant in Itaigara area of Salvador, Bahia, apparently, and on December 21, starting in the battery room (I don’t know what that is).
I’m trying to figure out how this could causes outages in 6 states, when Itaigara is on a peninsular extension of the land surrounding the Baia de Todos os Santos (All Saints Bay). I suppose there are technical aspects beyond my comprehension involved, since I’m not a telephony technician.  In any case, I CAN, now, find information, but only in Portuguese.

The Brazilian telecom company, Oi, in some areas is distributing, temporarily and for free, 3G mini-modems and emergency phone devices, a a bandaid until the appropriate sutures can be applied. If you can read Português-Brasileiro, there’s more information here (pdf file) regarding the distribution of these temporary solutions, and a list of area codes affected.
Additionally, this pdf notice indicates that they are projecting that broadband internet services should be completely restored to all Oi customers by January 20. Both pdf files are from the company, Oi, itself, and in Brazilian Portuguese, of course.

With this information, I was able to conduct a search for “incêndio, Itaigara, Brasil” and found numerous articles about the fire.

fire at Oi

Os Homens chegam! Firemen respond to blaze at Brazilian telecom, OI, in Salvador, Bahia

“Um incêncio no bairro do Itaigara, na manhã desta terça-feira (21), atingiu a Central Telefônica da Empresa de Telecomunicações OI, em Salvador. Segundo testemunhas, o fogo teria começado na sala de baterias da empresa.

Por conta do incidente, parte dos serviços disponibilizados pela empresa, como telefonia celular e conexão à internet, estão interrompidos. Usuários da telefonia em Aracaju também registraram problemas no sistema.” ( article)

A fire in the neighborhood of Itaigara, this Wednesday morning (12/21) affected the Telephone Plant of the Telecommunications Company, OI, in Salvador. According to witnesses, the fire had begun in the company’s battery room.

Due to the fire, part of the services provided by the company, such as cell phone and internet connection, are interrupted. Telephone customers in Aracaju also reported problems in the system. (translation provided by

The article goes on to explain that even the local emergency reporting system (there it is 190, as opposed to our 911) was interrupted and that locals would have to use the Police Department’s full phone numbers (9996-1880 or 9626-8887) to reach emergency services.

Another article (pt-br) indicates that R$70 million (seventy million Brazilian Reals) in damages were caused.

According to this article, two children, aged 2 and 6 years, were victims of the fire. I can find no other reports of casualties.

This article (pt-br) indicates that the government (Procon, arm of the State of Bahia’s Secretary of Justice, Citizenship and Human Rights) is investigating, and ordered the company to inform customers of projected resolution.

All articles I can find on this matter are in Brazilian Portuguese, so far (Bom que posso ler português, ne! Good thing that I can read Portuguese, eh!).   Not one seems to indicate the full magnitude of the outage, how many people were without services, nor how many have, so far, had service restored.


Written by tonybaldwin

December 31, 2010 at 11:58 am

Posted in international, news

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Not six states, only Bahia. Since most of the calls come from Salvador city (> 70%), state capital, it is considered to affect the whole state.

    Since Oi/Telemar is the major operator over there, you can imagine the mess.

    Helio Loureiro

    December 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    • Hi Tony and folks,
      I live in Salvador and am / was a customer of Oi.
      Just to say that the problem more than one month (Feb 5th) on, is far from fixed.
      We had NO phone connection for 3 weeks and even now, we are constantly getting wrong number calls from phones in other states, sometimes with no apparent caller on the line and also, our calls often go to a wrong number in another state.
      One of our fiends who is a well known actress, relies on email and phone for her work. She only got her internet working last week, but no phone. Then this week the phone came back on (sort of) and she immediately lost her internet connection. She has found (as we all have) that trying to contact Oi is a totally Kafkaesque situation; after haning on the line for up to an hour at a time, one is constantly connected to the wrong department and more often than not, the connection is lost and one has to start over.
      We and most people we know, are of course jumping ship and there has been a lot of negative publicity both in the printed press and TV.
      A bit coincidental perhaps that PT (Portugal Telecom) has just sealed a deal to buy a 22.38% stake in Oi just when the shares have tumbled by more than 9% and continue to do so. Smell a rat or just coincidence?
      Oh, and by the way Helio, according to news reports I saw on TV and read in 'A Tarde', 6 states were affected, as the building that burned down was the main Oi communication and exchange center for North East Brazil. The states are: Bahia, Alagoas, Sergipe, Pernambuco, Piauí e Maranhão.

      Dave Yowell

      February 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

  2. I wonder if I should have clarified that the children were NOT in the OI battery room. Of course, anyone who reads Portuguese could read the article and see that, but, I think maybe 10% of my readers can read Portuguese.


    January 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

  3. Hi Tony & folks,
    well I live here in Salvador and am / was a customer of Oi.
    Right up to now – 4th Feb, we (and many friends) are still suffering the consequences of this total fiasco!
    One good friend who is a well known Globo actress lost not only her phone but also her internet connection – vital in today’s world of media business. Only last week, she got her internet back for a short while, then as soon as her phone came back on, she again lost the internet. Trying to complain (as we also found) is a total Kafkaesque experience – just a total brick wall. After 20 days of no phone at all (thank God for Skype) we and many others, keep getting wrong number calls from all over Brazil, and the same when we try calling a local number – we get connected to a totally different number, often in another state.
    Last night there was a consumer advice program on Rede Bahia TV which exposed a wide range of similar problems by Oi customers.
    So as you can see as yet, the situation is far from resolved.
    Conspiracy theories:
    I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist and tend to take most of them with a shovel of salt.
    Check this 6 hour old story out:

    Strange coincidence that a company based in Namibia (one of the poorest and most under-populated countries in Africa) has the billions of dollars necessary to buy a major shareholding in a Brazilian company, just after the share price (unconfirmed) should have dropped dramatically due to this telephonic communications disaster!
    Every one we know who are with Oi are jumping ship.

    Oh, and by the way according to all the Brazilian news reports I saw and read, 6 states definitely were affected as well as some of the major banks in the North East, who depended on Oi for their computer network. This was because Oi’s primary exchange for North Eastern Brazil was in the building that burned down. (what, no backup system in place?????)

    Dave Yowell

    February 4, 2011 at 8:26 am

  4. Paciencia, amigo.
    If I allow comments without the approval process, my blog becomes a breeding ground for spam.
    I have now approved your comment.
    Obrigado por informarnos da situação com mais detalhe, e de alguém que vive com o Oi.


    February 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: