Flow appeals to ‘heartless’ vandals amidst COVID-19 crisis

TELECOMMUNICATIONS firm Flow is again appealing to criminals to cease the senseless acts of theft and vandalism being levelled against its operations, even as the nation grapples with meeting the needs of customers with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

According to Flow, as an essential services provider, its efforts to keep the country connected are being thwarted by thieves and vandals who, as recently as last weekend, destroyed network infrastructure in two separate incidents in the parishes of St Catherine and St James.

Stephen Price, Flow’s country manager, said that the most recent incidents denied about 7,400 customers, including businesses and other essential entities in the areas of Spanish Town and Montego Bay, access to fixed services.

“Our teams are making every effort to ensure that both our residential and business customers can maintain some level of productivity during this challenging period. We were, therefore, extremely disheartened to discover, upon investigation, that the reported outages in these parishes were as a result of deliberate and malicious damage to our network infrastructure. It’s heartless,” Price said.

The Flow boss said the acts of vandalism were denying thousands of students the ability to continue their studies via the various online platforms on which they are heavily dependent at this time. He added that the incidents were also having a devastating impact on businesses and individuals who depend on connectivity for an income.

“We have transformed our operations to respond to the current needs. We have brought in additional capacity, amplified our network monitoring and surveillance and have kept our technical operations fully intact to ensure our ability to respond to customers during this time,” he highlighted.

Price, meanwhile, noted that planned improvements and expansion on its fixed network have been accelerated as it aims to stay ahead of the increase in demand for fixed services and ensure that it provides connectivity to as many Jamaicans as possible during COVID-19 crisis.

“Incidents like the ones we experienced this past weekend are proving extremely counter productive to our nation’s overall goals at this time. They also put our teams at further risk during a time when we are aiming to balance their level of exposure with the critical day-to-day work that is being done,” Price said, as he extended gratitude to Flow’s team of engineers and technical staff who remain undaunted and were working to restore services to affected customers.

Price gave an assurance that Flow would continue to assess its ability to respond to network emergencies and was making changes where needed as it deals with this unprecedented situation.

“We are appealing to the criminal elements to cease these senseless acts even as we seek the support of members of the public to report any suspicious activity concerning our network by calling the police at 911 or our hotline at 876-922-HELP. We also ask for the patience and understanding of our valued customers as we work to have the affected services restored in the shortest possible time,” Price said.

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