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OfReg enhances consumer protection with new outage reporting rules

Local News 27 Jul, 2023 Follow News

Mr. Sonji Myles, Executive Director – Information, OfReg

OfReg has issued a determination to its’ information and communications technology sector licensees as part of its’ ongoing efforts to enhance consumer protections in the utilities sector. The new rules for reporting on outages require them to provide enhanced reports to the regulator following an unplanned outage and to also provide advance notice to all costumers of any planned outage.

The new rules set out a Licensee’s obligations for reporting disruptions to the public and other critical communication services like hospitals and emergency services. The enhanced reports must include detailed information on the nature and cause of outages such as a specific component failure, loss of power or a cyber-attack. This level of detail is essential for OfReg to improve monitoring of the reliability, resiliency and security of Cayman’s communications infrastructure as well as consumer service quality standards.

Although similar reporting rules have been in place for some time, the reports received did not provide the level of clarity on breadth, frequency and impact that outages were having on consumers and networks. Additionally, there was no obligation to notify customers of planned outages. This meant that prior to the new rules, a telephone company could shutdown service to upgrade or repair its network without providing any advanced notice to its customers relying on that service. Now customers must be notified of upcoming outages and OfReg will be provided with details necessary to evaluate licensees’ compliance, the resiliency of networks and be better able to protect Cayman’s critical national telecoms infrastructure.

OfReg’s Executive Director for the telecommunications sector, Mr. Sonji Myles said, “The information on network and service outages is essential to maintain and improve the infrastructure reliability as it provides the basis for us to determine whether any outages or repeated outages justify regulatory interventions or industry cooperation initiatives to prevent the recurrence of similar outages.”

Interim CEO Mr. Peter Gough added, “The proper functioning of public communications infrastructure is critical for consumers and as the regulator, we are determined to put in place the necessary consumer protection measures. The new rules for the reporting of outages in the telecommunications sector are another tool that we will use to ensure consumers get the level and quality of service they deserve and pay for.”

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