Haitian IT Companies Scrambling to Rebuild

Paul Lilly

As everyone knows by now, Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake, and the true extent of the damage -- from lost lives to demolished structures -- is still being calculated. On the IT side, communications appears to have taken a huge hit, and that's put companies in a frenzy to fix whatever can be fixed at this point.

"The mobile network still appears to be down, though [we're] getting reports that Blackberry is working," said Ory Okolloh, a South Africa-based lawyer and co-founder of crowd sourcing site Ushahidi. "We've been struggling to get a local line or short code [numbers] that people can use. Radio stations also appear to be down."

According to Okolloh, some Haitians have been able to communicate with satellite phones, "so it's no a complete blackout." And because of the situation, Okolloh notes that he's seen "urgent requests" from Haitian government officials for satellite phones.

Ann Saxton, treasurer of Bellevue, Washington-based Trilogy, says getting communications up and running has become a top priority in light of Haiti's already weak IT infrastructure. Trilogy provides cellular services to around 1 million Haitians.

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