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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsPSC Invites Customers to Liberty Listening-Sessions

PSC Invites Customers to Liberty Listening-Sessions

Liberty V.I. celebrated the grand opening of its new store at Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas in March 2023. (Submitted photo)

The Public Services Commission is inviting the public to attend listening sessions about Liberty phone service on Wednesday and Thursday territory-wide. PSC regulators and lawmakers say they want the public to speak out about the service — or lack thereof — they have experienced with Liberty V.I.

So far, 20 people have registered to speak at the public sessions scheduled on Wednesday for St. Thomas and St. Croix. A third listening session is set for St. John on Thursday. All sessions run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and can be attended in person or by way of livestream video over Facebook Live.

“We’re expecting about 20 people; we hope for more. We haven’t gotten a lot of registrants,” PSC Public Information Coordinator Symra Hendrickson said.

That stands in contrast to hundreds of social media posts appearing on popular platforms like Facebook and testimony heard at recent Senate hearings. Several complaints dating back to August 2023 appearing on the site What’s Going on St. Thomas mention Liberty’s migration process where former AT&T customers had their telecommunications links moved onto Liberty’s network. Some more recent posts mention difficulties accessing voicemail.

Others mention service disruptions occurring when an “SOS” notice appears on their phone screens.

In one post, appearing Tuesday evening, one customer added that “nothing seems to be working.”

In testimony heard at a hearing of the 35th Legislature earlier this year, lawmakers had unhappy customer experience stories of their own.

“… this is the worst service experienced in this territory,” said St. Croix Sen. Franklin Johnson.

At the time of the January hearing, every participating lawmaker said their offices were inundated with complaints about Liberty. In late March, the Senate approved a resolution directing the PSC to file a complaint about Liberty service with the Federal Communications Commission.

One V.I. lawmaker familiar with the commission’s work to set up the public outreach effort said these sessions offer a chance to spur federal authorities to act. Those who add their comments to the public record will help regulators support their petition to the FCC.

St. Thomas-St. John District Sen. Carla Joseph — one of two non-voting members of the commission — said she attended the March 12 PSC meeting where the listening sessions were approved by commissioners.

“I believe the PSC in their effort is trying to let the public know they have a place to file a complaint about service or any communications issues, similar to having water issues, or VIYA issues, or issues with any services that are regulated,” Joseph said.

‘What this listening session looks like, I’m not sure because I’m an ex-officio member. I’m not going to be able to be at this listening session because the Committee of the Whole will be meeting at the same time,” she added.

Hendrickson suggested that up until now, the public may not have thought of the commission as a place to lodge their complaints. Some of that uncertainty may stem from the migration process, she said.

Liberty recently announced that the migration process for V.I. mobile phone customers was completed as of April 2.

In-person listening session locations include Public Services Commission Offices at Estate Carlton on St. Croix, and Barbel Plaza on St. Thomas. The Cleone Creque Legislative Conference Room in Cruz Bay will serve as the venue on Thursday afternoon.

Those who wish to register and have not done so yet will be able to add their names and contact information to sign-in sheets available at all in-person venues, the PSC spokeswoman said. A poster announcing the sessions includes a website link where the public can complete electronic registration forms.

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