Smitcoms fire prompts urgent meeting

POSTED: 09/5/14 2:03 PM

St. Maarten – Telecommunications Minister Ted Richardson called an urgent meeting yesterday with the Bureau of Telecommunication and Post (BTP), Telem Group, and UTS after the fire at Smitcoms caused a major island wide communications blackout, with most of the brunt felt by Telem customers. All top executives from the three entities were present in the meeting.

The main agenda of that meeting was to discuss with the regulator and the main service providers about the different measures that must be taken to try to avoid a similar situation in the future. Even though at this time the problem occurred at Telem, the island was almost shut down, and our way of doing business came almost to a complete halt in certain instances.

Minister Richardson emphasized the importance for the service providers to have structured provision or back up measures put in place to avoid or remedy similar situations in the future. The Minister also instructed BTP to be more vigilant in their regulation and control when it comes to the different telecommunication services offered to the consumers.

Minister Richardson said he was pleased to learn that the technical departments of both Telem and UTS worked together to solve this problem, the same way when UTS had a similar problem sometime ago. He said that both companies are now working on a more structured approach to have a collaborative understanding established to deal with any and all future technical problems they may face.

BTP was also instructed to move faster in finalizing the “Quality of Service Policy” that they have been working on since 2011. BTP indicated that all rounds of consultation with stakeholders were done and they have the feedback from them. Minor legal consultation is taking place and BTP has indicated that by next week the Minister and his cabinet will receive the first draft.

All present providers in the meeting formulated their approval on the concept to have such policy in place for the benefit of consumers and the sustainability of their business. The policy is intended to cover all aspects of the overall quality of telecommunication services on St. Maarten, including telephone and data.


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