The Jamaican Government has indicated it will step in to help with telecommunications issues impacting its citizens following weeks of inconsistent service.
While addressing Parliament on Tuesday, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams said the Government will take a more emphatic stance to work with the two service providers, Flow and Digicel, to address the persistent issues facing customers.
Among the issues impacting consumers are dropped calls, calls not being initiated and delays in contacting customer service, often coupled with inadequate redress. The difficulties have plagued customers for weeks now, so much so that that the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) met with both service providers and instructed them to give customers updates and provide specific notifications.
Coming out of that meeting, both companies said they had not provided clear communication to customers and assured they would provide information on service interruptions notifications and restoration.
However, the issues have continued unabated.
The “quality of service challenges that operators are facing today calls for the Government to take a more assertive approach with all stakeholders to find solutions… and improve broadband access for all Jamaicans and create resilience in Jamaica’s national broadband network,” Williams said.
Among the issues facing the telecoms providers and the service to their customers are improvements in infrastructural development not keeping up with bandwidth demands, great dependency on a single fixed infrastructure with little redundancies and the rising incidence of network equipment theft.
She said the regulators indicated that it expects network upgrades to be carried out with minimum dislocation to customers, and where unavoidable, customers should be kept updated and given specific notifications.
Williams added “that the current problems underscore the need to include, in any future enactment or amendment of information and communications technology (ICT) legislation, powers to quickly impose and enforce sanctions for customer services breaches.”
The OUR, in a press release late last week, said it continues to push for powers to quickly impose and enforce sanctions for service breaches or relevant amendment to the Information and Communication Technology legislation.