more complaints were raised with the country's telecommunications monopoly this
week. This time it was an inability to establish Electronic mail (E-mail)
connections with the Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) server. Speaking
with technicians it was learned this was another "intermittent" problem and the
result of a need to rid the server of several thousand "garbage e-mails" which
are distributed through mass mailings each day. Further explained was that even
with a security system in place to block this, countless numbers of this junk
mail are downloaded every day. The "clean up" and subsequent e-mail service
interruptions were expected to be finished as of Tuesday.
As a follow-up to last week's BTL article "Hang up and call again," regarding
the public's difficulties receiving phone calls, The San Pedro
Sun contacted the Public Utilities Commission. Director of
Consumer and Public Affairs Donnalyn Myvette stated she had received another
similar complaint. On Tuesday, February 18, 2003, Ms. Myvette explained she had
contacted BTL and was coordinating with their personnel to schedule a meeting to
pursue this matter. She stated that she would update the public on the outcome
as soon as possible.
Aware that the Government of Belize
uses an alternative telecommunications provider (you can guess why) The San Pedro Sun also contacted the Ministry of
Communications to make certain they were informed of the situation. Speaking
with Dr. Victor Gonzalez of Public Affairs, he assured that his ministry would
follow up with the PUC regarding the matter and that the public should receive
an answer within a week or so.
On Tuesday, this reporter
also attempted to contact the spokesperson for Belize Telecommunications Limited
for an update on the "switch" problem. My first attempt at an update ended
in a dead line - no connection whatsoever. My second attempt led to a busy
extension at which time I was given the option to dial another extension, which
I did. This attempt resulted in the call continuously ringing to no end. I
finally hung up. The response to my third and fifth attempt was "We're sorry -
all circuits are busy at this time. Please hang up and try again." (The fourth
attempt, by the way, was another dead line - no connection.) On the sixth
attempt, I made contact and discovered that no news had been provided regarding
the problematic switch. Asked if BTL could just buy a new switch and solve the
"intermittent" problem once and for all, the BTL spokesperson stated he would
send another communication to the technicians and get back to me.
So, as I am so often advised to do by BTL, I will "try
Anyone wishing to air their complaints with
the Public Utilities Commission may call 227-1176, fax 227-1149 or E-mail
email@example.com - that is, if you can get a connection.
Letter to the
To the editors,
I very much appreciated your
coverage of the BTL situation we are experiencing in San Pedro. We at the Mayan
Princess have been complaining locally to BTL as well as to the main offices in
Belize City since last September.
There are a couple of
additional points that should be noted about the problem. First, that it does
not affect just inter-island calls. In September and October of last year, I was
in the United States at tourism trade shows and could not get through to my home
or the hotel. Many times the phone rang on my end, but no one ever answered. In
addition, we have guests writing e-mail wanting to know why we are not at our
front desk. They have dialed over and over, the phone rings and we never pick
up. But, how can we answer a phone that doesn't ring? My husband has been on the
mainland needing to speak with me urgently. I am at home awaiting his call and
it never comes. Finally, I get a call from the hotel that he got through to them
to say he has dialed over and over and the phone rings, but I didn't pick up.
Again, how can I answer a phone that doesn't ring?
the initial advice we were given from the local office. They said, "Oh yeah,
everyone is having that problem. Just tell them to hang up and call again." My
question is: If I don't know there has been a call, how can I tell the person to
hang up and call again?
There is also the issue of dialing
a number and the voice mail coming on immediately. The person is right there and
never hears a phone ring. It stems from the same switch problem but, in this
case, we are paying twice to get someone to answer once.
Yesterday, before receiving the paper, I had lost my
patience (partially because I was into my second day of no e-mail server on top
of unreliable phone service) and contacted BTL myself. I was referred to a Ms.
Rowena Edwards who informed me of the faulty switch. She says BTL is waiting for
the company who makes the switches to deal with our problem. I asked her how
long did the problem have to go on for before BTL decides to buy new switches.
She had no answer, but I know without a doubt that if the faulty switch were
affecting their billing system, it would have been fixed six months ago. They
would have bought new switches and dealt with the company at fault later. As it
is, we are paying BTL to undermine our business.
like BTL to understand that putting blame off on the company that makes the
switches and expecting us to wait with no end in sight is unacceptable. I know
that if guests came to our hotel and none of the A/Cs were working and I told
them we were sold faulty air conditioners by LG and were waiting for them to fix
the problem, they would tell me I was crazy, demand a refund and leave. It would
be the death of our business. It seems that BTL should be held to at least the
same standard we small businesses have to maintain.
I very much appreciate The San Pedro Sun
bringing the issue to the front page. I hope others will write in (don't call
because we won't hear the ring) and also send their complaints on to the Public
Utilities Commission as I am doing.
Mayan Princess Hotel