82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBRUNT: MEETING WITH PHONE REPS 'DISAPPOINTING'

BRUNT: MEETING WITH PHONE REPS 'DISAPPOINTING'

The business community's meeting Wednesday morning with telecommunications representatives provided no immediate solution to ongoing interruptions in local and long-distance telephone service, the chamber's president said.
"To say the meeting was disappointing is an understatement," said Thomas B. Brunt III.
"We called this meeting to solve problems — to discuss options and suggestions and say, ‘Yes, this will work – no, this won't work,' " Brunt said. "What Vitelco gave us was, 'We're looking into it and doing everything possible to solve the problems.' "
"We are very concerned that the measures being taken will not be adequate to take care of these ongoing problems," Brunt said.
Brunt said that Samuel Ebbeson, president of the V.I. Telephone Corp., admitted during the meeting that Vitelco's existing equipment was installed in the 1980s and said it is inadequate and in poor condition.
Brunt voiced disappointment that the new switch Vitelco is installing won't be ready until March or April. Vitelco also indicated that new T-1 lines would not be available for another 30 to 45 days, Brunt said.
Katrina White-Comissiong, Vitelco's public relations director, verified that the switch is due to be installed in St. Thomas the end of March. Brunt said chamber members are very concerned that they are going to have a repeat of last year's telephone problems that never got solved until January or February.
"The season is over by March or April," Brunt said.
Comissiong said the problem is not money. "We try to anticipate problems at peak times," Comissiong said. "Last year we ordered additional circuits in August. They didn't arrive until January."
She said additional circuits have been ordered and is hopeful that with the help of Puerto Rico Telephone Co. and AT&T Virgin Islands, the process will be expedited.
With the circuits currently available, 336 outbound 1-800 calls can be processed simultaneously, according to Comissiong. With the new two new T-1 lines, the capacity will increase to 378.
The chamber's other concern, Brunt said, is that the Puerto Rico phone company does not have the ability to service this community.
Brunt said Vitelco's tests indicate the company has had a 17 percent failure rate in a 24-hour period. Brunt said the Chamber wants Vitelco to calculate its failure rate between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. — peak business hours.
Comissiong said the tests were done a few weeks ago when serious problems began to surface.
Brunt said the chamber has asked for another meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 5, to give Vitelco time to assess the situation and come up with some concrete solutions.
A representative of A.H. Riise who attended the meeting said the ongoing phone problems — especially the breakdown in 800 service — were a huge issue for retailers , especially in view of the bogus credit cards that may be circulating.
"It's not such a problem for us, because we sell perfume and liquor — small ticket items. But with the Rolex store, it's a different situation." The Riise representative, who asked not to be named, said the store's employees try to verify transactions by cellular phone on large purchases, but that doesn't always work either.
If you cannot verify a transaction, putting it through without electronic verification makes merchants susceptible to fraud.
Brunt said one retailer at the meeting lost a $40,000 sale due to lack of phone lines.
Editor's note: See earlier story for background on the island's recurring telephone problems.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
The business community's meeting Wednesday morning with telecommunications representatives provided no immediate solution to ongoing interruptions in local and long-distance telephone service, the chamber's president said.
"To say the meeting was disappointing is an understatement," said Thomas B. Brunt III.
"We called this meeting to solve problems -- to discuss options and suggestions and say, ‘Yes, this will work - no, this won't work,' " Brunt said. "What Vitelco gave us was, 'We're looking into it and doing everything possible to solve the problems.' "
"We are very concerned that the measures being taken will not be adequate to take care of these ongoing problems," Brunt said.
Brunt said that Samuel Ebbeson, president of the V.I. Telephone Corp., admitted during the meeting that Vitelco's existing equipment was installed in the 1980s and said it is inadequate and in poor condition.
Brunt voiced disappointment that the new switch Vitelco is installing won't be ready until March or April. Vitelco also indicated that new T-1 lines would not be available for another 30 to 45 days, Brunt said.
Katrina White-Comissiong, Vitelco's public relations director, verified that the switch is due to be installed in St. Thomas the end of March. Brunt said chamber members are very concerned that they are going to have a repeat of last year's telephone problems that never got solved until January or February.
"The season is over by March or April," Brunt said.
Comissiong said the problem is not money. "We try to anticipate problems at peak times," Comissiong said. "Last year we ordered additional circuits in August. They didn't arrive until January."
She said additional circuits have been ordered and is hopeful that with the help of Puerto Rico Telephone Co. and AT&T Virgin Islands, the process will be expedited.
With the circuits currently available, 336 outbound 1-800 calls can be processed simultaneously, according to Comissiong. With the new two new T-1 lines, the capacity will increase to 378.
The chamber's other concern, Brunt said, is that the Puerto Rico phone company does not have the ability to service this community.
Brunt said Vitelco's tests indicate the company has had a 17 percent failure rate in a 24-hour period. Brunt said the Chamber wants Vitelco to calculate its failure rate between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. -- peak business hours.
Comissiong said the tests were done a few weeks ago when serious problems began to surface.
Brunt said the chamber has asked for another meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 5, to give Vitelco time to assess the situation and come up with some concrete solutions.
A representative of A.H. Riise who attended the meeting said the ongoing phone problems -- especially the breakdown in 800 service -- were a huge issue for retailers , especially in view of the bogus credit cards that may be circulating.
"It's not such a problem for us, because we sell perfume and liquor -- small ticket items. But with the Rolex store, it's a different situation." The Riise representative, who asked not to be named, said the store's employees try to verify transactions by cellular phone on large purchases, but that doesn't always work either.
If you cannot verify a transaction, putting it through without electronic verification makes merchants susceptible to fraud.
Brunt said one retailer at the meeting lost a $40,000 sale due to lack of phone lines.
Editor's note: See earlier story for background on the island's recurring telephone problems.