Liberty waives data overage charges, pauses account suspensions
Liberty Puerto Rico CEO Naji Khoury confirmed that starting Monday, and for the next five days, it will not collect overage charges for excess use of mobile data, nor will it be suspending overdue accounts for its landline or mobile customers.
In an update on the status of its network and services following the wrath of Hurricane Fiona, Khoury confirmed that the company’s 2,300 employees are safe, although some have experienced major damage to their properties.
“Our technical field teams have been out early doing inspections throughout the island where there is no risk to their safety. The fiber rings and the distribution facilities of our fixed and mobile networks are stable with generators and/or batteries where there’s no electricity service. We’ve detected some fiber cuts caused by winds, floods and/or landslides,” he said.
While the mobile network is stable working on generators and batteries, the fixed services network has run out of backup energy, he said.
“It’s impossible to connect generators on this equipment since they’re in the street, poles, and sidewalks. The batteries lasted from four to 10 hours in many cases, so many customers were able to continue enjoying the services after the blackout. Most of the lack of fixed services in homes right now is due to lack of power,” Khoury said.
Telecom workers on recovery duties
In related news, Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance (APT, in Spanish) President Lusi Romero confirmed that industry workers are moving full steam ahead to restore services that have been interrupted because of Hurricane Fiona.
“As our partners have told us, we have approximately 80% of the wireless network and 70% of the fixed network in operation. A distinction must be made between service interruptions due to failures or failures in the network and those due to lack of energy in homes or businesses,” Romero said.
“Likewise, energy is essential to transmit and receive internet or mobile telephony signals from several company facilities. So, as the electrical service is restored, more people will be able to access their internet, cable, and telephone services,” Romero explained.
Romero emphasized that telecom companies “have invested millions of dollars in backup systems to continue operating when the electricity supply fails.”
“However, if [Hurricane] María taught us anything, it’s that conditions change radically as the hours go by without electricity,” Romero said.
“As the diesel in the plants runs out, telecom equipment goes on and offline and customers are affected. We’re focusing on the logistics of fuel distribution to facilities and vehicles to keep the equipment running,” said Romero.
“We hope that since telecoms are an essential service, priority is given to energizing the facilities to keep the people connected,” he said.