Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Vandals, thieves bleeding Flow

Published:Sunday | November 29, 2020 | 4:34 PM

Flow Jamaica says it continues to be plagued by attacks on its network infrastructure from thieves and vandals. It says the attacks have so far cost the company close to US$1 million to restore services. That's currently about J$145.8 million.

The telecoms company says since the start of the year it has been affected by 292 incidents of theft and vandalism. This includes two incidents yesterday and Friday in Broadleaf, Manchester, which resulted in an outage that affected several businesses and even caused service disruptions for some of its competitor's, Digicel's, customers. Flow said vandals in the community cut a major overhead transmission cable. 

That attack follows three other incidents earlier this month and in late October in Portmore, St Catherine, which left several communities without service. A man was arrested for those incidents.

Flow says the recurring incidents of theft and vandalism are compromising its goal to deepen internet penetration, especially given the greater demand for connectivity to support remote work and schooling.

The company says its technical teams are working expeditiously to implement alternative infrastructure for affected communities. 

It's reminding persons that they can be charged up to $3 million or face a maximum term of two years' imprisonment for certain acts of theft and vandalism of telecoms infrastructure. 

The company is also urging customers to contact the police or the company if they witness any theft, vandalism, arson or any activity that could disrupt telecoms services. It says persons should call the police at 119 or the company’s hotline at 876-922-HELP.  

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