By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ALIV'S chief executive said the company would spare no effort to restoring full service to its network in hurricane ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Damian Blackburn, in an interview with Tribune Business, said: "Aliv status is the network is working everywhere in all islands outside Grand Bahama and Abaco fully. In Grand Bahama the network is working in West End. We still have challenges in the East End but we have engineers on the ground actively recovering our service in the East End.
'In Abaco we have managed to restore limited service in Marsh Harbour. We are in the process of sending massive amounts of equipment to Abaco overnight. We hope to widen our service in the next 48 hours. There are still issues calling BTC customers. We continue to coordinate with them to solve the issue so that customers call between the two networks."
Acknowledging the tremendous devastation left by Hurricane Dorian and the desperation of many families still seeking to connect with loved ones, Mr Blackburn noted: "It's been a very tough situation and our hearts go out to everyone impacted. We are ready, willing, able and very focused on recovering our network and helping people recover their livelihood going forward. We are obviously devastated as everyone is. The storm was unprecedented. We are standing shoulder to shoulder with everyone and will be there through each phase of the recovery. In terms of our own network we obviously prepared very well but nothing can prepare you for 185 mph winds and a hurricane like this. We have been very fortunate that we managed to keep our network in Freeport working throughout the storm. It's a combination of preparation and good fortune quite frankly. Our network worked pretty well in Abaco through the beginning of the storm but unfortunately, as the storm got progressively stronger, we had sites start to go off air."
Mr Blackburn added: "We are working very hard to get all of the network equipment and necessary resources in the right place. No effort is being spared to get network equipment at record speed to recover the rest of the service. The Aliv team has done a fantastic job. The engineering team has been on top of things, our warehouse team and all of the customer care team."
Mr Blackburn noted that as Aliv restores its mobile service in Abaco and Grand Bahama, the company has extended a call allowance of 250 minutes to persons in the affected islands so they can reach their loved ones for free.
"They can make calls to any Bahamas number, Aliv or BTC and also to the US, Canada, Digicel, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica. Those 250 minutes will be valid until September 14 which is the period we expect our network to be recovered in. We are now engaged in helping the relief effort in both Grand Bahama and Abaco," said Mr Blackburn.