The business community is sounding off over blackouts and inconsistent service from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
While some entrepreneurs are more sympathetic than others, Bahamians are in general agreement that persistently poor service is having an impact on business.
Chester Cooper, the chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), said he commends BTC for investing in upgrades. He also appreciates the firm's long-term view.
But the company also has to face up to the fact that widespread disruptions, and at times total blackouts throughout the country, gives it the responsibility to make it right.
"I trust that at a minimum, BTC will provide refunds to the business community as an effort to compensate for excessive down times experienced recently," he told Guardian Business.
The comment from the BCCEC chairman comes shortly after arguably one of the worst days for the country's sole mobile services provider.
According to Jerome Sawyer, BTC's senior manager of public relations, there was a commercial power failure at BTC's Poinciana Drive location, which houses the majority of the company's telecommunications network facilities.
The plant's generator and batteries reportedly failed and "did not function as designed".
"The failure of the central exchange created a full disruption in BTC's mobile and internet services nationwide," Sawyer stated. "Further, most landline subscribers were unable to make calls."
As of press time, normal phone services had not been fully restored to both the cell phone and landline networks.
Jeffrey Knowles, the operations manager at Aquapure, said BTC disruptions had made the leading manufacturer "absolutely crazy".
He said the company has been scrambling since service became spotty, particularly last Friday.
"I had shipments on the dock. I couldn't get my broker on the phone. I couldn't get the driver. Friday was very serious. It is usually a very busy day for us, and we couldn't contact anybody," according to Knowles.
Fortunately, someone in Customs allowed his staff to arrive at the docks on Saturday to make up for the lost time.
Cooper at the BCCEC added that "constant and unfortunate" disruptions in cell phone services greatly impact productivity. The chairman said he was particularly sympathetic for small businesses who work from the road, using cell phones as the only tool for communications.
"The BCCEC has discussed this matter candidly with BTC and they have assured us that the situation will be resolved once and for all within 30 days when their infrastructure upgrades are completed," he told Guardian Business.
Other businesses, such as Bahamas Waste, reported minor problems to the flow of business.
Francisco de Cardenas, the managing director of Bahamas Waste, said drivers in his fleet typically use cell phones, but were able to use VHF radios instead to communicate with the office.
"We had a bit of an intermittent problem, and it looks like at the moment, we are only having cell issues," he said.
"We had a bit of an issue communicating with Abaco, but that is a normal occurrence."
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