CIG plans action over deficient internet speeds

| 20/11/2015 | 36 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Local telecommunication providers are soon going to be held to account for the internet service they provide, as government has said it is preparing changes to the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) legislation to make them give customers what they pay for or suffer the consequences. In a debate on a private member’s motion calling on government to act, many MLAs as well as the minister responsible derided the providers for the inadequate service and speeds and suggested it was hindering the country’s development.

Ezzard Miller’s motion asking government to address the common complaints that customers are paying for internet speeds that they almost never get was accepted by the government front bench and saw several members of the parliament vent their own and their constituents’ frustrations over the issue, which the ICTA says at present it does not have the legislative teeth to address.

Miller said that over the past year and more he had received countless complaints from people who were not getting the internet speed they were being charged exorbitant rates for by their providers and when they complain, the communication firms do nothing but offer an even more costly upgrade.

The independent member said the ICTA has admitted there is a problem but it does have the power to address it. Since the authority cannot enforce anything, he asked government to do what was needed so that it could. Asking for substantial fines, he said the communication firms have made millions of dollars in profit, and despite the liberalisation, there was still no real competition.

He said the jurisdiction should be getting better service and access to cutting-edge technology but at the very least companies should not be tying customers into contracts for a specific speed then not provide it, and when they complain tell them to upgrade. It was “unacceptable”, Miller said, as he urged government action.

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who has responsibility for the ICTA, said government accepted and was fully on board with the motion as plans were already underway to address the problem with revised legislation expected in January. Tibbetts said he knew what Miller was saying as his wife not talking to him because he is the minister and their internet at home was still not fixed.

“The ICTA Board has received complaint after complaint,” he said, adding that a draft bill to increase fines and improve enforcement was in the works. Tibbetts said the amendments to the law would allow people to avoid penalties for breaking contracts and switching service if they do not get what they are paying for. The law will also provide for random speed checks and sanctions if the telecommunication firms are not supplying the speeds people are paying for, he noted.

The minister said he, too, had concerns that the communication companies had rolled out services without having the capacity but without the legislative power, the providers were simply ignoring the complaints.

Several MLAs spoke on the issue during the debate, which was expected to continue Friday.

Arden McLean said there was no need to amend the law as licences could be suspended. Describing his internet speed as “crawling  about as fast as molasses going uphill”, he said people were getting ripped off and the ICTA board was “sitting down like stooges doing nothing about it”, despite numerous provisions in law that provide for sanctions. He wondered whether the board had read the law or if they did not understand it or the power and responsibility they have.

McLean criticised boards in general. “They need to do their job and the minister needs to tell them … someone has to impress it upon them and if they are not doing their job move them,” he said, adding that people were quick to take board positions offered by government, not to give a service but to see how “they can benefit”.

He also blamed the poor phone service and dropped calls on the security services listening in to his calls.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush offered his support to the motion, adding that he did not think anyone was exaggerating about the poor standard of service and the extent of problems and agreed that the phones were being tapped by the police.

George Town MLA Winston Connolly stressed the detrimental impact the poor service could have on business and said that if Cayman was serious about competing with jurisdictions such as Singapore, it wasn’t anywhere near good enough. He said internet speeds never get close to the speed customers pay for and the firms continue to come up with ridiculous excuses. However, he said no one was making a big stink about anything in Cayman, he said. “We just bend over and take it.” Connolly said the government, of which he is a part, should enforce the laws.

Alva Suckoo, who has a background in IT and is heading up the e-government initiative, said that was at risk if the poor internet service being provided by the telecom companies did not improve. Despite the problems, Suckoo defended the board and said that, far from doing nothing, they have been crafting the amended legislation so that they can do something.

He said it was a capacity problem because the companies continued to sign-up clients without the ability to service them, so everyone ended up fighting for bandwidth, and the customer service agents didn’t help by arguing with customers and feeding them nonsense.

The debate continues Friday when the parliament resumes around 10am.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The appropriate fines for Flow and Digicel on false advertising and misrepresentation should be equivalent to the fees they have charged customers for the services and these fines should be payable back to the customers not the government.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is not a new issue but something that has snowballed since the former ICTA Head’s time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What I hate is when the mobile internet sales people come to your house to sign you up they are your best friend but after you get the service and looking for assistance from them they don’t have a clue who you are because they already got what they want.
    It happens to me the man know me by first name came to my house had a good conversation I signed up for Internet got the service but had a few bugging questions after I email, called and text him at least six times after when I finally got him he had no idea who I was or that he even signed me up..typical sales man and bad customer service.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “…or suffer the consequences. ”

    In Cayman? For white collar stuff?

    Ain’t gonna happen. Too many lodge members on the boards.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Last week I went to the Galleria Place where Flow’s customer service is located and asked for my INTERNET service to be transferred from one line to another at my house. I was told to go home and unplug the modem from the line it was connected to and plug it into the line I wanted it transferred to.

    I went home and did just that, nothing happened. I then called 811 and got a technician in Jamaica who told me that I had to go back to Customer Service and fill out a form to have it transferred from one account to another.

    I went back to customer service and they told me that was not so and that I should go home and wait for a call from them and they would send a technician out to my house and have the problem rectified.

    I am still waiting for the technician …………………..

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m guessing you have two telephone numbers in your home, and the customer service people don’t realize that what your actually asking, is for a service switch over from one telephone to the other.

      I can see how that would be frustrating.

    • Anonymous says:

      welcome to third world.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Glad a certain local activist started the petition. Now something is finally being done! YEA!

  7. Knot S Smart says:

    Opening my email and drinking beer will forever be linked in my mind…
    My email takes so long to open and I have to try so many times – that I get frustrated and drink a beer or two while waiting…
    To make matters worse my Gmail account have a few times sent condolences to my family because they thought that maybe I died while opening my email…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I moved along with my business years ago third world BS

  9. Anonymous says:

    They do know faster speeds will improve access to gay porn?

  10. Bits & Bytes Mania says:

    Well there’s your problem with the sluggish, slow speeds right on this page, a Hicatee is clogging up the fibre. Quick, someone throw a a piece of lettuce or maybe a lime to entice that connection robbing land crawler from the lines and let the data flow, man!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m paying for 16 mb down fiber and 3 mb up.

    The only problem i’m experiencing is the fact that its overpriced.

    As for speed, it seems to me i’m getting what I’m paying for.

    • JRF says:

      you think your getting what your paying for but i have 25mbps and 5 upload and my test always say that im getting 25mbps but my connections doesnt show me that im getting that. i think they are throttling the speeds.

  12. Diogenes says:

    Can we get action on deficient CIG speeds on dealing with virtually everything/

  13. James G says:

    I enjoyed this article

  14. Anonymous says:

    Lime and Digicel have the worst customer service of any company is the entire galaxy. It’s like they deliberately want to mess with you and waste your time. Whoever heard of an Internet and communications company where the only way to access basic services is to go to their store (one specific store) and line up for 90minutes? To file a form that could be downloaded and sent by email in 5 minutes? And forget about them helping you on the phone when you eventually get through. 9 times out of 10 they hang up before you can say a word.

    • Just driftwood says:

      Don’t forget promising to call you back in five minutes time and time again (after which I’m pretty sure they laugh and shake their heads).

    • Susan Weeks says:

      I sadly have to agree. Digicell for cell phone, Lime for Internet and landline. Of the two Lime/Flow are much worse but I’ve had extensive problems with both providers and no one seems to know what they are talking about or even care.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The current ICTA law is in favour of the internet providers and one will never know if the head of that Authority is pandering to a monopoly. Remember the days when C&W were charging 25 cents/min for dial-up? Well the extortion still continues and the powers that be want to maintain the status quo. Those that want faster, albeit less reliable, and less costly over the long haul had better setup their own satellite internet on the down low, or pay the piper.

  16. Anonymous says:

    HaHa, that made my Friday Afternoon, McLean thinking he is important enough that the police would be listening to his calls, Mclean it is not the police , its the writers of Monty Python looking for new material .

  17. Anonymous says:

    Its about bloody time – lets see if this works!

  18. Anonymous says:

    this is from the do-nothing ppm who cannot even change a speed limit sign on wb road for the last 3 years…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Every comment on every article you write is about the signs on West Bay Road. If it’s that painful for you, paint your own and put them up but for f***s sake stop moaning all the time!!

  19. Broker says:

    This is the usual excuse that Careless & Worthless, Slime or Slow (FLOW…following Lime old ways)….SEE BELOW:

    Please see email response from our Technical Department Below.

    The DSL service is provided with an ‘Up to’ speed for Upload and Download and cannot be guaranteed as it is dependant on a number of factors including serving exchange, distance from exchange etc

    If the requirement is business critical then we suggest customers implement a Dedicated Internet Access service which gives guaranteed speeds as this is provided on a private leased line circuit. The product is also provided with a 4 Hour fix Service Level Agreement.

    A breach of contract hasn’t occurred as the service being provided is a best endeavours solution hence the reason why bandwidth figures are quoted as ‘Up to

  20. Anonymous says:


  21. Anonymous says:

    Your iTV Purchase will be ready to watch in 2h36mins…Loading….Buffering…oh nevermind.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Somewhat ironically, the PADI Open Water eLearning course work for ios/android requires a rare/unattainable minimum speed of 25Mbps to function. Most residents are excited to reach 5-8Mbps if they are on fibre.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “We just bend over and take it.” Connolly said
    Better not say that in front of Mr. Eden

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is good news!!! I don’t know how many hours I have wasted on logging issues and complaints with Lime/Flow with no results. Countless technician visits at my house with no results! They really have been robbing people blind and are set up like a mafia!!! It takes hours of determination to actually be able to speak to someone from the company on Island. What they are doing is illegal and they should be facing consequences accordingly.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Lets hope the CIG move faster than my internet!

  26. Anonymous says:

    The package costs are indeed appalling and unjustifiable. Speed is one thing but reliability of the internet connection is another. One will not work properly without the other so I encourage the ministers to concentrate on both aspects at the same time. Also ministers should know that (whether they admit to it or not) these companies are throttling our connections. Throttling is when our Internet service is intentionally slowed down by an Internet service provider, in an attempt to minimize bandwidth congestion and regulate the network. Clearly if we have capacity problems the ISP’s will be using throttling, a practice which is increasingly seeing bans elsewhere in the world. Fibre optic should be available to all at a reasonable price too.

  27. Anonymous says:

    yawn…too little, too late…..

    • Sissy says:

      But at least something is FINally happening!!!! We are continually being offered to “upgrade” when the speed we are paying for is not even close to being reached. I sometimes think of our internet services as a water pipe for which the demand at the end can’t possibly be met by the diameter of the pipe.

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