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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPSC TO REVIEW TARIFFS FOR NEW PHONE FEATURES

PSC TO REVIEW TARIFFS FOR NEW PHONE FEATURES

Bells may be ringing distinctively soon, as approval is hoped for this month by the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp. for new tariffs proposed for several optional and long-awaited services that were the subject of a hearing Wednesday before the Public Services Commission.
Vitelco filed a tariff with the PSC in December proposing the additional services. The PSC is required by law to review rate increases of territorial companies within 30 days.
However, the PSC board voted to extend the deadline so members could study the phone company's request and examine caller-privacy issues.
Samuel Ebbesen, Vitelco chief executive officer, described the new services, which would bring the island up to snuff in the technological department, and provide the territory with a lot of new and "distinctive" rings. But this does not apply to all services.
The popular caller ID feature is available only within the Virgin Islands at this time. No long-distance calls and most cellular phone calls cannot access this feature, which identifies the caller's phone number before the customer picks up the phone.
Deluxe ID, also unavailable, allows the customer to view the caller's name as well as the number.
Attorney Frederick G. Watts, the PSC legal counsel who chaired the meeting, said the commission would meet again probably later this month when a decision on the tariffs would be announced. At that time, he said, an estimate of when long-distance caller ID might be available would be made public. No straight answer to this inquiry was forthcoming from the Vitelco representatives.
The availability hinges on linking Vitelco's network with long-distance carriers, company engineer Lena Williams said.
When asked how this could come about, Williams said, "They (long distance carriers) would have to come to us."
Watts, who was appointed by the PSC to investigate the new tariffs, said that privacy concerns had been raised regarding the new services. Especially sensitive to the new ID service are human service organizations, such as the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, because of the agencies' commitment to protect the identity of its clients.
The new services include a call-blocking feature which protects the customer's identity. Another feature allows the customer to reject up to six pre-selected numbers of unwanted incoming calls.
Ebbesen, who along with Watts had attended a PSC hearing in St. Croix Wednesday morning on the same subject, said the company had had extensive meetings with police officials, human services, hospitals and nonprofit agencies such as the Victim Advocate Program and Bethlehem House. The meetings were conducted to mitigate any fears about privacy in the new systems.
According to Ebbesen, the new rates are "reasonable, not much more than the customer is now paying." Equipment necessary to utilize the new services can be purchased from Vitelco or electronics stores, Ebbesen said.
Commission member Alecia M. Wells and Keithly Joseph, executive director, attended the session, along with Vitelco and PSC technical personnel.
A list of other new services follows:
– Call return – allows customer to redial the last incoming number.
– Repeat dialing – allows customer to redial the last outgoing number.
– Distinctive ringing – offers customer a distinctive ring for up to six pre-selected numbers.
– Selective call forwarding – allows customer to forward up to six pre-selected numbers.
– Cancel call waiting – allows customer to disable the call-waiting feature for the duration of one call.
– Long-distance alert – provides a distinctive ring for long-distance.
– Custom ringing service – especially for teens, allows customers to list up to four numbers off the main number with a distinctive ring for each.

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Bells may be ringing distinctively soon, as approval is hoped for this month by the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp. for new tariffs proposed for several optional and long-awaited services that were the subject of a hearing Wednesday before the Public Services Commission.
Vitelco filed a tariff with the PSC in December proposing the additional services. The PSC is required by law to review rate increases of territorial companies within 30 days.
However, the PSC board voted to extend the deadline so members could study the phone company's request and examine caller-privacy issues.
Samuel Ebbesen, Vitelco chief executive officer, described the new services, which would bring the island up to snuff in the technological department, and provide the territory with a lot of new and "distinctive" rings. But this does not apply to all services.
The popular caller ID feature is available only within the Virgin Islands at this time. No long-distance calls and most cellular phone calls cannot access this feature, which identifies the caller's phone number before the customer picks up the phone.
Deluxe ID, also unavailable, allows the customer to view the caller's name as well as the number.
Attorney Frederick G. Watts, the PSC legal counsel who chaired the meeting, said the commission would meet again probably later this month when a decision on the tariffs would be announced. At that time, he said, an estimate of when long-distance caller ID might be available would be made public. No straight answer to this inquiry was forthcoming from the Vitelco representatives.
The availability hinges on linking Vitelco's network with long-distance carriers, company engineer Lena Williams said.
When asked how this could come about, Williams said, "They (long distance carriers) would have to come to us."
Watts, who was appointed by the PSC to investigate the new tariffs, said that privacy concerns had been raised regarding the new services. Especially sensitive to the new ID service are human service organizations, such as the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, because of the agencies' commitment to protect the identity of its clients.
The new services include a call-blocking feature which protects the customer's identity. Another feature allows the customer to reject up to six pre-selected numbers of unwanted incoming calls.
Ebbesen, who along with Watts had attended a PSC hearing in St. Croix Wednesday morning on the same subject, said the company had had extensive meetings with police officials, human services, hospitals and nonprofit agencies such as the Victim Advocate Program and Bethlehem House. The meetings were conducted to mitigate any fears about privacy in the new systems.
According to Ebbesen, the new rates are "reasonable, not much more than the customer is now paying." Equipment necessary to utilize the new services can be purchased from Vitelco or electronics stores, Ebbesen said.
Commission member Alecia M. Wells and Keithly Joseph, executive director, attended the session, along with Vitelco and PSC technical personnel.
A list of other new services follows:
- Call return - allows customer to redial the last incoming number.
- Repeat dialing – allows customer to redial the last outgoing number.
- Distinctive ringing – offers customer a distinctive ring for up to six pre-selected numbers.
- Selective call forwarding – allows customer to forward up to six pre-selected numbers.
- Cancel call waiting – allows customer to disable the call-waiting feature for the duration of one call.
- Long-distance alert – provides a distinctive ring for long-distance.
- Custom ringing service – especially for teens, allows customers to list up to four numbers off the main number with a distinctive ring for each.