SO FLOW has once again come out and showed the people that they are boss and take orders from no one, eh?! With no competition to threaten them, why on earth should they care what anyone thinks? After all, the silly little people a.k.a. customers need them, don’t they?!
I am once again feeling the levels of frustration, anger and disgust where all rationale tries to fly out the window and I do something stupid like scream till a blood vessel pops and I keel over and die! I’m feeling this way because I’ve developed a severe intolerance to injustice, bullying and pure nonsense (to put it nicely) and quite frankly the latest shenanigans from FLOW who blatantly disregarded their contract with the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and went ahead to increase broadband fares.
In the contract, the conditions given by ECTEL to allow the merger between Lime and Karib Cable are as follows:
(i) Access by other licensed telecommunications providers to the facilities of the merging parties on a non-discriminatory basis;
(ii) Provision of basic retail broadband internet service in each of the Member States with transmission speeds of at least 5 Mbps, priced per year at not more than 3% of GNP per capital;
(iii) Allowing their customers of fixed broadband, fixed voice and subscriber television services to migrate to another plan without the imposition of penalties;
(iv) Compliance with the principles of Internet Neutrality which enables access to content and applications without favouring or degrading access to websites or content.
With the announcement of a price hike by FLOW effective last Sunday, ECTEL (which now has me wondering whether the “Authority” part of the name is even relevant as they seem to be a kitten meowing at a savage bear) denied the proposal deeming the move to be unacceptable and stating that it “goes against the spirit of the discussions between the merging parties and the Regulator.”
In a press release sent out by ECTEL, they said: “The Council demands that the merging parties honour the commitments including the provision of services at affordable prices, which have been made to the Regulator and also announced publicly.”
After I read this, I was dancing with joy…silly ole me! For a second there, I actually got some hope and I thought that for once, the people are being considered and fought for…I actually let my guard down. Now I’m back to square one feeling ticked off, bitterly disappointed, held hostage, bullied and worse still hopeless with ZERO confidence in the persons appointed to protect the consumer.
So as of Sunday, I will be paying more for an already abysmal service and there is NOTHING I can do about it. After all, it’s 2015 and we live in the age of technology and whether I like it or not, the internet has become a staple in the lives of most…me included. Now, if that is not being bullied and held hostage then I don’t know what is.
Do I have any alternatives? NOPE! I used to have a choice and I guarded that choice fiercely but then that was taken away and with that choice, all fairness and morality are taken away too as these vultures now know that they have the nation by the jewels and they’re going to squeeze them as much as they can even whilst the people are squeaking “Uncle” in high pitched chipmunk voices.
I wonder what more we will have to lose before someone steps in and doesn’t just speak about ending the nonsense but actually puts a huge boot down and stamps it out…maybe when it starts to affect the people on top or when a visitor comes and starts complaining about it and threatens to put in the international spotlight then and maybe then someone will act.
I am wholeheartedly sick of this type of behaviour…from both the greedy and soulless service providers and from the parties responsible for stopping the greed and craziness because from where I stand, all they’re doing is sitting on their thumbs, throwing empty threats and commands and hoping that someone will be intimidated enough to take heed and stop what the extortion.
I want to see where this will go although I suspect that it will go absolutely nowhere, and just like the noise that people made about Digicel stopping Whatsapp calls which (as I predicted) just fell on deaf ears and the providers just waited till all was quiet and forgotten so that they could continue on their merry way without bothering to give the people what they were crying for.