Five months after Hurricanes Irma and María hit the island, Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico LLC reported “solid progress” in its network restoration process, confirming it has already reconditioned and repaired its main fiber ring around the island and continues repairing fiber sub-rings, coaxial cables and distribution equipment.
Approximately 60 percent of Liberty’s customers are back online and receiving their services. Liberty’s business fiber customers have experienced a faster recovery, with more than 75 percent of fiber circuits already restored. The company expects full recovery of fiber business-to-business customers by March 2018, executives said.
CEO of Liberty Latin America, Balan Nair, has been to Puerto Rico three times since the hurricanes hit.
“Our team on the island is extremely committed and doing an excellent job. Although we have much more to do, we’re ahead of schedule and I’m confident we can get there with close to 60 percent of our pre-hurricane [clients] already back online,” Nair said.
“Key to our success is the ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing situation on the ground in Puerto Rico,” he added.
Liberty has more than 300 crews and more than 900 technicians, employees and contractors, working across the island on the network’s restoration efforts. The contractors’ crews are a mix of local and U.S. technicians.
In addition, Liberty has received additional resources from Liberty Global in Europe and its colleagues in Chile and it is actively hiring more personnel locally to support the process.
The large majority of Liberty’s customers are expected to have their services restored by April 2018, as electric power is gradually reestablished. Toward the mid-year mark, Liberty expects to have restored its network and services to the most remote and devastated areas on the island.
The company is still granting automatic credit to its customers for the time they were without service due to Hurricanes Irma and María. It has also made a commitment to avoid raising rates this year.
“From day one, we have not stopped working and will not stop until we restore our network,” said Naji Khoury, president of Liberty Puerto Rico. “We have seen great progress during the past months thanks to the additional equipment and resources we have brought in.”
“Our goal is not only to repair our infrastructure but also to make it more robust than before, providing greater resiliency, superior performance, and to be able to offer higher speeds and advanced products,” he said.
“In fact, in December, we increased our broadband entry speed to 100Mbps. Most customers can upgrade to that speed at either no cost or a very reasonable increase,” Khoury added.
“We have always been a value-driven company and now that most of our customers have their services back, we feel it’s important to refocus on offering the best customer experience possible,” said Khoury.
Furthermore, to enhance customer experience, Liberty announced improvements to its “Mi Liberty” customer self-help portal. Customers can now program the call forwarding feature and manage their technical services appointments, as well subscribe to Liberty Alerts. Reconnected customers who choose so, can also receive three months of Showtime free of charge.
While the company continues its restoration process, Liberty has established 23 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the island, which were complemented by the company’s Wi-Fi Tours to 35 municipalities.
The Wi-Fi Tour initiative generated a total of 21,931 internet sessions and delivered 36,895 hot meals. In addition, 4,213 people received health services and 2,504 people filled and submitted their FEMA claims.
Khoury emphasized that all these efforts demonstrate that “Liberty Puerto Rico is more committed than ever to the island and is here to stay as the leading telecommunications company in Puerto Rico.”