Batelco offers refund for Net disruption
Manama, February 13, 2008
Batelco in a goodwill gesture has announced that it will refund 50 per cent of the monthly rental broadband charge for all its customers who have been hit by internet disruption due to the recent undersea cable damage.
The compensation is in view of the recent undersea cable damage which caused inconvenience for internet users from Egypt, across the Middle East to India, and its customers in Bahrain, a company statement said.
Batelco will credit its customers’ internet accounts with 50 per cent of their monthly rental broadband charge. For example a customer on a BD10 ($26.60) per month package will receive BD5 credit,' it said.
The unprecedented series of events which severely impacted internet services across many countries in the region, not just in Bahrain, was completely out of Batelco’s control. Whilst Batelco is not obliged contractually to offer any reimbursement for such unforeseen incidents, the company believes that such a unique occurrence, where three international cables were almost simultaneously damaged, requires a unique response, the statement added.
“Even though no Batelco customer lost the internet access throughout this period, we are aware that they experienced slow downloads due to congestion. Our engineers started to re-route traffic within minutes of the cable cuts and our investments in network diversity served us well to restore significant connectivity on remaining operational cables and satellites,” said Batelco Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos.
“We understand that, whilst no fault of Batelco, our customers were severely inconvenienced. Consistent with our brand values and customer care principles, we are offering this once off payment recognising the unique circumstances,” he stated.
“We are driving a customer-focused transformation at Batelco and believe such a goodwill gesture will further differentiate us from other companies across the region and reflects our commitment to put our customers first. This also reinforces our leading reputation of being voted the best internet service provider in the Middle East and North Africa in 2007 by CommsMEA,” Kaliaropoulos pointed out.
The cable cuts lasted just over 12 days. Within a few days 65 per cent of the capacity was restored for Batelco's customers. Batelco's investments in three cable systems, satellite services and engineering planning provided ample redundancy and diversity and no customer lost complete internet connectivity throughout the 12 days.
'Should a new cable system be introduced in the Middle East, Batelco will explore investing in it. However, Batelco has ‘best in class’ superior and a more diverse infrastructure than any other operator in the Kingdom which serves as a robust and efficient national backbone to access the world-wide web,” he said.
Batelco estimated that the internet disruption will cost millions in customer refunds and lost revenue. All consumer and business internet users will benefit from this initiative, the statement said.
The corresponding refund will be credited to accounts consistent with customers billing cycles from March onwards.-TradeArabia News Service