VITELCO EXPLAINS PHONE PROBLEMS TO PSC

The telephone problems that residents and retailers experienced in December stemmed from insufficient lines and equipment failure, according to Mickey Breton, vice president of customer service for the V.I. Telephone Corp.
In a report presented Friday to the Public Services Commission, Breton said the service interruptions were due to:
— Intermittent transmission equipment failure.
-— 800 circuit congestion.
-— A switch that is reaching maximum capacity.
Breton said the problems were compounded by extraordinary use of calling cards, which allow, in particular, crew members from the mega-ships to make low-cost, long-distance calls though 800 numbers.
This can tie up the circuits for hours, she told the Daily News, which, like Vitelco, is owned by Emerging Communications.
She said merchants swiping credit cards do not cause the problems. Those transactions take only a few moments.
In response to the overload, Vitelco installed 48 additional 800 circuits at the end of December through the joint efforts of At&T, Puerto Rico Telephone Co. and Vitelco, Breton said.
Vitelco has ordered 48 more 800 circuits that will be delivered Tuesday, she added.
She said equipment failures that occurred along with the circuit congestion were what caused delayed dial tones and "all circuits busy" messages. The bad equipment was replaced upon detection, she told the PSC.

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