It is no secret that FLOW (one of Saint Lucia’s telecommunications providers) has earned the outrage and disdain of many customers over the years. With a flurry of mergers, acquisitions and morphs within a few years, Cable and Wireless, LIME, Karib Cable, Columbus International have become the bouillon that we now call FLOW.
In fact, the complaints of shoddy service have continued to dog the progress of this company for so many years that the latest iteration of its corporate identity, FLOW, has garnered much scorn and interpretation. Frustrated customers now consider FLOW to represent “Following Lime’s Old Ways”. LIME was also beleaguered with complaints of poor service, both technical and customer, for many years.
Service had become so unbearably painful for one frustrated customer that he held a one man demonstration outside the House of Assembly, during a sitting of Parliament on April 26, 2016. His placard was simple yet very clear: FLOW – Following Lime’s Old Ways.
Lamentably, FLOW continues to be besieged with service issues, both cable TV and Internet, with social media being replete with horror stories of dropped channels, slow Internet speeds, constantly reprogramming cable set top boxes, and a myriad of other service and support problems. FLOW made numerous public statements about upgrades and changes to infrastructure which were designed to fix the issues and to stem the flow (no pun intended) of its PR nightmare.
Of course the old copper infrastructure which services land lines, faxes, and outdated DSL service is still in place. The complaints of service issues over these lines when it rains are as old as Beelzebub, and continue to this day. It is therefore amazing that maintenance of this systems should be a priority of FLOW’s since they service the bulk of business to business, and home telephone usage.
So imagine my shock at discovering, clearly visible and accessible to passersby, this ‘distribution joint’ which has multiple telephone connections through it, right there, live and direct, on Dauphin Street – the main road into the town of Gros Islet, and directly across from the now infamous Lambirds University building.
The obvious question which comes to mind, especially in the wake of all the complaints and promises by FLOW to upgrade and fix their numerous issues, is whether any sort of routine inspections and maintenance are even carried out.
It is clear that any rainfall will result in service interruptions due to this lack of preventive maintenance which is clear for all to see. Yesterday’s Tropical weather system and its resultant whole-day rainfall is almost certainly the reason for my home phone being in-operational today, with only static on the line.
Is FLOW really giving us value for money?