OUR summons Digicel, FLOW over poor service

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) instructed Jamaica’s major telecommunications providers to provide customers with updates regarding their service following multiple issues with current delivery.

Both FLOW and Digicel were called in to meet with the OUR last week as questions of data and voice service delivery took centrestage. A release by the regulatory body Friday said specific issues faced by consumers include dropped calls, uninitiated calls and delays in contacting customer service, with occasional inadequate redress provided.

Responding to what was considered a “lack of diligence in their resolution”, Digicel said the issues being experienced were the result of a modernisation programme which started two years ago. Digicel added that the transition to its upgraded network will see little to no disruptions in service, and improved quality of service, once completed.

For its part, FLOW said substantial technological and capacity upgrades to its network caused a significant increase in data traffic, creating a “signalling storm” which affected its service delivery.

FLOW added that the disruptions were isolated and that measures were implemented to boost capacity and implement additional network redundancies.

However, Director General of the OUR, Ansord Hewitt, said network upgrades were to be done with minimum inconvenience to customers and that, where unavoidable, they should be kept updated and given specific notifications.

Both companies agreed they have not been clear in communication to customers and pledged to give service interruption notifications and updates on restoration. But, following the meeting, some issues continued despite the assurances given by Digicel and FLOW.

Director General of the OUR, Ansord Hewitt (Photo: Consumer Affairs Commission)

The OUR urged customers to request rebates, if provided, under their service contracts and to report any refusal to honour them.

Hewitt said the OUR will continue to push for powers to quickly impose and enforce sanctions for future customer service breaches or relevant amendment to the Information and Communication Technology legislation.