ICTA criticizes FLOW’s communication in outage

The audit committee, meant to give oversight to governor-issued surveillance warrants, has never been formed.

IT overseer Information and Communications Technology Authority said Wednesday it was “fed up” with local telecommunications company FLOW after the group did not notify the regulator of Tuesday’s 10-hour islandwide service outage.

Service for thousands of FLOW cellphone and land-line subscribers – including police, hospitals and local businesses – was affected starting at 6 a.m.

911 services were not affected.

After the 4 p.m. restoration, FLOW issued a statement saying, “We experienced a degradation of service today between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. This affected some long distance calls and inter-connection to local operators … Customers were updated through our social media pages and we’d like to thank them for their patience as we worked to resolve the issues.”

Alee Fa’amoe, ICTA managing director, said, “C&W [Cable & Wireless, FLOW’s parent company] failed to report anything to us. It’s standard practice around the world to report, but they felt under no obligation to report anything to the regulator.

“It seems, then,” he said, that ICTA “will have to start drafting outage-reporting regulations” and “fining them hundreds of thousands of dollars if they ignore them.”

Guy Thornton, marketing manager at rival Digicel, said the outage had affected his network and “impacted our customers” because calls could not be transferred between the two systems.

Mr. Fa’amoe was unable to pinpoint the source of Tuesday’s outage, but said problems routing calls through Jamaica have happened before.

“We are not happy, and will make known concerns about the system in other countries that may be without good reliability. They need to explain what is going on.”

When the interruption began, Mr. Fa’amoe said, ICTA had made “test calls, to make sure we could get through and that 911 services still worked.”

“They need parental guidance to do what is necessary. I am fed up with these guys. You should prioritize all emergency services – police and hospitals – and now we are going to have to put rules in place to make sure this is done, just as it is all over the world.”

FLOW declined to respond to Mr. Fa’amoe’s comments, saying, “We don’t have any further info at this point.”

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  1. It st seems as if the ICTA Managing Director only has a problem with Cable and Wireless/ Flow. I have yet to hear one negative thing from him about Digicel. Why is that ? I have heard that he was an employee of C&W in the past; if that is so , could there be some unsettled business between these two parties. I know that Digicel has it share of issues because I have spoken to persons who left C&W to subsribe to Digicel, only to return to Cable and wireless at the earliest opportunity. Please remember that justice should not only be done, it needs to be seen as being done.