Even though the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) previously said upgrades to its Internet, cellular and landline platforms would be complete this month, cellular customers can expect at least another two months of major service disruptions, BTC CEO Geoff Houston announced Thursday.
Just two weeks ago, after a 90-minute mass disruption in cell service, BTC’s Senior Manager of Public Relations Jerome Sawyer said the upgrades were on schedule and should be complete, for the most part, by the end on July.
Houston, who addressed the Nassau Sunrise Rotary Club at the British Colonial Hilton, admitted that data is still a challenge for the company as upgrades continue.
He said BTC is also in the process of installing a new platform, which he hopes will be operational between the end of August and early September, although slight improvements can be expected each week.
As it relates to dropped calls, Houston said that problem will always exist to some extent. “It’s just a feature of the network and it happens occasionally,” Houston told The Nassau Guardian.
“We will obviously try to eliminate that. Our target is that 99 percent of all calls are successful, but there will always be at least one percent [of calls] that aren’t.
“But we are working hard to get there and I expect by probably September we will be there by and large throughout the network.”
Several business owners, who were contacted for comment yesterday, spoke of the significant negative impact the outages had on their operations and were concerned about the extent of future disruptions.
“I think Mr. Houston’s announcement is outrageous and the Bahamian people are victims of lousy, slack, sloppy service, and the fact that BTC feels compelled to collapse one system in order to upgrade us to a new system is just inexcusable,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, president of Superwash.
“It wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the world where you do not have a monopoly. It really is unacceptable and they should really look at doing this a different way.”
Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation CEO Winston Rolle said the news of further service disruptions would not be welcomed by the business community.
“It’s either lost productivity or in some incidents a lost revenue opportunity,” he said.
“Any kind of disruption to an essential service is nothing the business community looks forward to hearing.
“I know most persons had hoped that a lot of this would have been resolved by July, but I am also aware that in discussions that I had with Mr. Houston some of the challenges they’ve had with the power outages have exacerbated their current position as well.”