(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Telecommunications company Flow says more than 8,000 of its customers in St Catherine are currently without service as vandals have set fire to its cables in the Central Village area.
The company, in a release today, said the affected residential and business customers have lost voice, TV and fixed internet services, and though its technical team has been onsite working to quickly restore the services, it is concerned about the ongoing vandalism of its network.
“This is not a case of theft as nothing was stolen. Our fibre cables were secured in a manhole which was deliberately breached as the perpetrators went on to set fire to the cables inside. This latest incident again demonstrates the callous disregard for persons who rely on our services for access to emergency services, business, study, and for personal purposes,” said Kayon Mitchell, Flow’s director of corporate communications and stakeholder management.
Flow disclosed that currently its network in 37 communities across Jamaica has been impacted by vandalism and theft.
“Twenty-one of those are in St Catherine but there are instances where we have restored services to these communities and the network is again vandalised or elements such as cables, batteries and generators are stolen. We have been investing heavily to roll out services to more communities across the island, bringing more Jamaicans online but between the bills for restoration, as a result of vandalism or roadworks in the Corporate Area, those plans will have to be revisited,” Mitchell said.
The company said the cost for restoring services as a result of vandalism and theft of its network infrastructure and elements is around US$2 million per annum, which does not include the significant investment the company is making to further secure its network from criminal elements.
“This latest act of vandalism comes just days after Flow conducted a media tour across the Corporate Area where the company’s copper and fibre networks have been repeatedly damaged by contractors engaged by the National Works Agency to conduct roadworks.”
Flow is appealing to persons who may have information about vandalism and/or theft of its cables and infrastructure or note suspicious activities around its network to call the police at 119 or Crime Stop at 311.