BTC Makes Rapid Progress On Network Restoration
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is encouraged by the progress made with the restoration of its network over the last three weeks.
BTC CEO, Garry Sinclair, said, “In the last three weeks, we’ve made marked progress restoring services across the board to all of our landline, internet, mobile and television customers. As I’ve said before, we are also a Carrier’s Carrier. This means we provide the transport capacity and a host of other vital services on our network that enable our competitors to provide services to their customers.”
Sinclair continued, “In Grand Bahama, our mobile voice and data quality has improved tremendously in the last week and we are providing full coverage in the densely populated areas of the island. Our fantastic team on the ground, including our external vendors, has been working closely with the Grand Bahama Power Company to achieve this. We are also working to restore services in the areas where customers are still residing.”
BTC also continues to provide free Wi-Fi to shelters at the Grand Lucayan Hotel, Christ the King, St. George’s High School, St. John’s Jubilee and Church of the Ascension.
“We’ve deployed a dedicated team on the island to go door to door to our government, enterprise and small business clients, to provide temporary solutions until our network is fully restored. There was a concerted push over the weekend to restore fixed line services to a number of our business customers. BTC understands the importance of having businesses up and running as soon as possible after a disaster, as it is easier for communities to regain a sense of normalcy. The team will remain on the ground for as long as is necessary,” Sinclair said.
As power is reconnected in Grand Bahama, landline, internet and television services are immediately being restored.
“We are also going door to door to our residential customers. Our team spent the weekend canvassing the West End community, and we were definitely encouraged by the results there. Not only were we able to restore services for dozens of customers, we also found that there was a high demand for additional services from BTC,” said Sinclair.
Last week, BTC has also made great progress in Abaco. Mobile services were restored in Wilson City. Services are also fully functional in Marsh Harbour, Moore’s Island, Castaway Cay and South Abaco including Sandy Point, Cherokee Sound, Bahama Palm, Crossing Rocks and Casaurina. The Company has deployed mobile towers to the additional Cays and other populated areas of Abaco.
“We are working closely with NEMA to determine the key areas to ascertain where our services are needed most at this time. We are mindful of the cleanup efforts to remove a huge amount of debris in order to provide temporary housing as well as redesign the city. We will continue to work hand in hand with the relevant authorities to continue to provide services to critical areas,” Sinclair continued.
Essential services are also being restored, and landline services are operable, at the Marsh Harbour Clinic and the BPL plant. The company continues to provide free Wi-Fi at the Administrator’s Complex in Marsh Harbour.
In New Providence, BTC continues to provide free Wi-Fi services at several shelters including the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, Fox Hill Community Center and Calvary Baptist Church.
“The process of restoration is two-fold for us. We need to get all aspects of our network repaired, while managing the huge humanitarian effort that we’ve undertaken. We are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of our people. Since Hurricane Dorian, our Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation pledged over US$500,000 which allowed us to provide more than 55,000 pounds of immediate relief supplies including the basic essentials of food, water and toiletries. Hundreds of generators were provided to our own team members, the community and the Emergency Room Doctors at the Rand Memorial Hospital. We’ve also replaced over 5,000 cell phones free of charge to residents from both affected islands regardless of their service provider. World Central Kitchen received a US$25,000 boost to assist with its food program and US$75,000 will go to NEMA. Our click to donate campaign is ongoing and funds raised will be donated to the Ranfurly Home for Children which is now housing the children from the Grand Bahama Children’s Home,” Sinclair concluded.
In anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, BTC provided a $5 credit for all prepaid customers. Immediately following the storm, a $20 credit was issued. The company provided free voice and data services nationwide for all customers from September 4-8, and double data from September 20-23 for prepaid combo plan users. Unlimited data has also been extended to all postpaid customers since September 20, and Grand Bahama prepaid customers are now receiving double data with every Always On plan purchase until December. Billing for mobile postpaid customers resumes on October 1. Free calls and data are still in effect for customers still residing in Abaco.