OUR instructs telecom companies to give service interruption notifications

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OUR instructs telecom companies to give service interruption notifications

Friday, November 08, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has instructed both of the country's major telecommunications service providers – Digicel and FLOW— to supply customers with service interruption notifications and updates on service restoration times.

According to the OUR, this comes after what it calls “persistent quality of service issues such as data and voice service interruption. These include dropped calls, calls not being initiated and delays in contacting customer service with sometimes inadequate redress.”

In a statement today, the OUR said its leadership met with executives from both, Digicel and FLOW last week to discuss the service quality issues. The OUR said it was made clear to both providers that there were serious concerns about the current service levels and what appears to be a lack of diligence in their resolution.

According to the statement, Digicel explained that the service issues being experienced by its customers resulted from the implementation of its modernisation programme which began two years ago.

Digicel reported that it is upgrading its infrastructure to transition to a more up-to-date telecommunications technology and ultimately to provide improved service quality.

The OUR said the company asserted that it was the modernisation works that have resulted in service disruption to customers. After this is completed, Digicel said, customers should experience little to no significant disruption in service and should also see improvements in the quality of service.

For their part, FLOW informed the OUR, that it has made substantial technology/capacity upgrades to its network in order to provide its customers with improved service quality.

The release said, FLOW asserted that the significant increase in data traffic due to these upgrades resulted in “a signalling storm” on the network which subsequently caused service disruption.

It also indicated that steps have been taken to increase the signalling capacity and implement additional network redundancies.

FLOW added that the incidents of service disruption were isolated and not related to a general failure of their telecommunications infrastructure. The company also noted that a significant portion of service disruption was due to vandalism of its network and some of the on-going road works.

The OUR said FLOW representatives gave the assurance that the causes of the recent service disruptions in October were identified and have since been resolved.

According to the release, both companies admitted that the steep and rapid rise in the demand and use of data, which requires constant adjustments, had hampered their service delivery.

They also admitted that they have not been sharp and clear in their customer communication and education. The OUR said both companies have committed to providing their customers, and the OUR, with service interruption notifications and updates on service restoration through their various communications channels.

Meanwhile, the OUR urged customers that where their service contracts provide for rebates in the event of prolonged service disruption, they should insist on receiving them.

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