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Falklands : Falklands Public Meeting 27 April 2010 (Part 2)
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.05.2010 (Article Archived on 22.05.2010)

Part 2 of a 45 minute public debate about Falklands Telecommunications

Public Meeting on Cable & Wireless Part 2


By J. Brock (FINN)


Hamish Wyley brought up the fact that phone calls were charged by the minute but monitored by the second.  If a call lasted 61 seconds a charge for two minutes would be made.  He was sure there could be a fairer way of charging for phone calls.


DS:  I am certainly happy to stick it on the list.


Stephen Luxton:  Just briefly – an observation rather than a question but it’s actually a while since I had a row with Cable & Wireless about internet data usage, though generally being under the allowance recently but I did have a disagreement with them in the very early days with the Camp broadband system and eventually they agreed that my figures were right and their figures were rubbish.  I think there is some scope for defeat there.  But the point I was going to make is that they openly admit and I think it says so, on the website that the figures on the website may change up to 3 days after the event.  Well, if it is being metered, it is either being metered accurately or it isn’t.  I looked at our figures and sometimes it says I have used 150MB on a particular day and a day later it will be down to about 30 or something so I think the whole thing is complete rubbish.  You can see it’s complete rubbish and there must be some way we can get somebody to do an external professional to have a look at the system they use for monitoring and see why it doesn’t work because it very obviously doesn’t.


DS:  That’s what we did.  We had an external expert have a look at it and he came back and said there’s no problem.


SL:  So how did he explain the fact that figures can vary by 400% in the space of 24 hours?


DS:  I can’t remember the complete detail of the report now but the report came back and said that the software that they used for measuring your individual data usage – there was no fault in the software – it is software that is used elsewhere in the world equally as effectively and basically whilst there are things that need to be put in place, for example, letting customers know when they are about to reach the limit of their data usage, which I believe Cable & Wireless are going to put into place very soon, they give a warning message.  He recommended those sort of things.  But when it came down to the actual data monitoring – or metering is perhaps a better word – data metering to an individual subscriber – his report said that the software was perfectly OK and there was no problem with it.  Is he right or is he wrong?  I don’t know.  I would suspect he’s wrong because the amount of complaints I get – when you get that many complaints – especially for the month of February this year, for example – I think when there are that many complaints saying there was no way they could have used as much – that they never used their internet connection over the weekend – and the people you speak to, you can’t help but believe them.  They are not trying to lie and they are not going to all this trouble just to kick up a fuss so there is something there that I think needs looking at but it’s very hard to look at this meter when it’s something totally beyond my capabilities.  We – FIG – did get a consultant in and he says it’s OK then you’ve got a problem.  Choose a different consultant and get a different answer, I suppose.


Gary Clement:  Couldn’t you have something like speed cameras where somebody looks at it without Cable & Wireless knowing about it?


DS:  I bow to people with greater knowledge than I but people like Nikki would argue that yes you can tell how much data has gone through a computer.


NB:  That is exactly correct.  There are programmes that larger companies have that log everything that happens. And if you take that and set it against the statistics, you will see that they are not the same.  So if your internal system is telling you one thing, the external system is telling you something else, you have to wonder which one of the two is correct.


BL:  one of the other little wrinkles that happens is that sometimes when you look at your usage you have been charged for two days the same date.  Two for the 22nd of April – then it disappears.  So if it’s that erratic certain accuracy has to be called into question. 


Stephen Luxton:  There is a saying floating around the computer world for a long time, which is ‘garbage in – garbage out.’  I think that pretty much sums up the whole monitoring/reporting system because it just doesn’t seem to have any consistency and I don’t know if somebody goes through and manually corrects it after two or three days and if they’ve got to do that it probably doesn’t work.


BL:  Well, we have had 45 minutes of crucifixion of Cable & Wireless.  Has anybody else got anything desperate to say about them or should we give any other subject a chance?


(100X Transcription Service)


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