The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is embarking on a strategy of automatic compensation to ensure that telecommunication providers abide by set regulations. The announcement was made by the Public Education Specialist at the organization, Elizabeth Bennett Marsh. According to her, the OUR will be consulting with the public on the measure before it comes into effect.
“We are issuing a consultation document by as early as next year with the view to put in that in place,” she explains. “This means that if your service is disrupted for any significant period, the period determined by the OUR, then the customer should be rebated. If you make a complaint to apply for service and it takes longer than the prescribed period then the customer is to be rebated.”
For several weeks, customers have been making complaints about service disruptions including but limited to dropped calls and limited Internet connections. Due to this, In late October, the OUR met with representatives from FLOW and Digicel who committed to keeping customers abreast of service disruptions. FLOW had indicated that the issues were due to vandalism while Digicel indicated that work was underway with its modernization programme scheduled to completed next year.
Bennett Marsh says while the OUR is monitoring both companies, failure to meet these commitments might to lead to issuance of orders and directives.
“The other measure that is available to the OUR is court action which we are reluctant to take because it is not in the interest of the customers or parties involved because we know court action takes time. What it is at top our mind is to ensure that customers have their service restored in the shortest possible time,” she adds.
Bennett Marsh was asked whether the lack of sufficient competition was contributing to the delay in telecommunication providers providing better service. She says the OUR welcomes other providers and there isn’t any restriction once they comply with the telecommunication act.
“We recognise that while there are some issues in the purview of the telecommunication providers to correct, there are issues that are outside of their control to some extent,” she pointed out.