Flow forks out $15m to repair vandalised cables
It's happened only in Jamaica - vandals running amok on the facilities of the Canadian-based Columbus Communications, the cable network popularly known as Flow.
Gail Abrahams, director corporate communications, Columbus Communications Jamaica Ltd told The Gleaner that nowhere else in the region has Columbus experienced vandalism.
Abrahams disclosed that the company has been forced, for the first five months in 2014, to fork out $15 million to repair cables that have been vandalised.
"People just go to our vaults and deliberately steal and cut cables and aerial and nodes in obvious acts of vandalism," said Abrahams.
She said Columbus's property in Port Antonio, Portland was also vandalised earlier this year. "We have put up reward money to find the suspects, but we can't say it's been effective."
She said engaging in a public- education drive appears to assist.
Last year, Columbus hauled a cable company in St Elizabeth to court for stealing its fibre- optic material and was awarded damages.
Abrahams said it was discovered that the company stole the fibre-optic network to build up its service delivery.
"We are not relying on the Government to assist us with this problem, because we are feeling it in our pockets," said Abrahams. "With the dollar devaluing, it's costing us a lot of money to be repairing and maintaining our system."
Abrahams said the company has embarked on a programme of public education to address the problem.
"We go into communities and talk to the members and indicate that it's affecting them. It appears to be helping," Abrahams said.