NatCom Customers Victims of Mafia-style Cable Cutting

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Newly acquired NatCom, formerly Teleco, has been a victim of chronic sabotage and the company is suggesting haters in the industry to be the culprits, others say it is internal.

Teleco was acquired by a Vietnamese telecommunications giant, Viettel and since emerging in the market with plans to bring new technologies, powerful service and a new kind of ethic, the company has been victim to sporadic cable-cutting.

It was reported by RCR Wireless that some are showing their aggression against the company in the form of “brutal cable cutting.” Suspicions are the many and vary from large corporations to random locals.

One theory is that the three large wireless providers, Digicel, Voila and Haitel may be in cahoots with unidentified agents who sabotage for pay. The motive seems to point to NatCom’s intention to lay a fiber optic network throughout the country which could make voice calling, over the internet, possible in Haiti.

Although NatCom is a land line telecom, the emergence of faster internet and voice calls could affect wireless companies and could allow users to bypass the Martelly international call tariff.

Another theory suggests the threat to be internal. Telco is known to have been a cesspool of corruption. Many used to complain that bribes were needed just to get a line fixed or to get service turned on in less than a year.

RCR Wireless writes:

“In the past most businesses paid a telco employee to make sure their phone lines and data lines stayed up,” our source told us on condition of anonymity.

“If there was a problem the business had one person to call [at Teleco] and yell at and they were motivated to fix the problem,” he went on.

These “cable guys” also occasionally intentionally cut the lines of people who didn’t want to employ them, or think they required their services, making it something of a telecom mafia/protection racquet.

“Many of these ex-Teleco employees were used to a steady income stream,” said our source, pointing out that now the firm had changed hands and was controlled by the straight laced Vietnamese, the profiteering cable guys were cut out of the loop.

“They are allegedly cutting the fiber not because they are so much angry at their employer as they are angry that they were cut out of the gravy train,” he explains, citing that the number of disgruntled cable cutters could be in their dozens.

“Many of these ex-employees quit because Teleco basically stopped being able to offer the basic service that was supporting their supplemental revenue stream,” he told us, adding, “nobody in Haiti has a working +509 22xx xxxx phone number.”

“There were thousands of these lines and at least a few hundred that would have paid a few extra bucks a month to keep the service running,” he maintained.

Of course most of that revenue has now been picked up by wireless carriers like Digicel and Voila, but NatCom seems determined not to be deterred by efforts to sabotage its plans.

“They seem to be getting pretty good and fast at fixing their fiber,” said our source.

Employees of NatCom went on strike in April 2011, as their colleagues were being terminated, without severance, and replaced with Vietnamese workers. It was a strike of several weeks.

It is not to say these persons are responsible for the attacks but it was a bad way for the new management to begin operations in Haiti.


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1 thought on “NatCom Customers Victims of Mafia-style Cable Cutting

  1. The Vietnamese may learn a few things from the Haitians. In fact, Haiti may defeat them, and the better service they offer.

    As usual, Haiti must lose, in the long run.

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