Editorial note: We have the internet outage in our Caracas office finally fixed. It was the continuation of the previous visit, but 8 days later, and this time the CANTV technician really wanted to fix the issue, it actually took him about 20 minutes to do so as we expected. We are still looking for alternative internet service providers to avoid disruptions like the one heavily affecting us last month.
Caracas, September 21, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—Orinoco Tribune is an anti-imperialist and Chavista news outlet based in Caracas, Venezuela, that next November will be four years old. During these years we have strived to provide independent and alternative news about reality, not only in Venezuela, but also in Latin America and beyond.
Since August 25, Orinoco Tribune has not had access to broadband internet service in our office in Caracas. The issue, that was very localized and relatively easy to fix, has taken an exorbitant amount of time to be repaired. This has forced our Caracas team to pay for mobile data options that are extremely expensive as well as inefficient.
As most of our readers know, Orinoco Tribune does not receive funding from any government, corporations, or large NGOs, nor do we use advertisement as a source of revenues, to avoid dependency on US-controlled corporations. In addition, we reject placement of advertisement, paid content, and monetized social media platforms. For these reasons, our resources are very limited. Our editorial team force is voluntary, with the only exception being our editor and founder, Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza.
At the time the internet outage began, a report was filed with the Venezuelan national internet service provider, CANTV, under the file number 25042103, and was reported using VenApp Line 58 under report number S-381429. Despite our insistence, including the launch of a Twitter campaign to bring attention to the cause of the problem and the subsequent lack of response, not a single proper response has been received. A technician visited our offices last Tuesday, September 15, but only informed us that there was a “wet wire problem” that needed to be resolved by the “wire team.”
The outage apparently affects Orinoco Tribune only, in a building of more that 24 apartments, and was caused when an irresponsible resident contracted a non-CANTV technician to fix a personal internet issue, which ended up affecting our service. At the time of the service rupture, our people reached out to the technician, letting him know about the disruption, and requested that it be resolved. We also warned this privately contracted technician that we believed what he was doing was illegal. Just a couple of hours later, the service went down again, and has not returned since then. We believe that it was this warning that caused the technician to sabotage our internet connection.
Denuncian que este supuesto funcionario CANTV afecto lineas telefónicas en nuestro edificio. Llego al parecer traído por algún vecino, sin uniforme, carnet o número de reporte. Se detectó afectación a tiempo y se le hizo corregirlo pero luego volvió a montarlo. pic.twitter.com/fdhB0bYZyv
— Vecinos Plaza Madariaga – El Paraiso (@CentroMadariaga) September 5, 2022
On the day the incident began, there was no rain affecting the area, nor for a few days after. For this reason, we suspect that the “wet wire” argument is not a logical explanation for the problem that has still not been fixed. We also suspect that this might be an act of retribution by some irresponsible CANTV worker for complaining about the work of the imposter CANTV technician, despite the fact that he was not a real CANTV employee. However, without a doubt, he would have needed assistance from someone within CANTV to solve our neighbor’s problems.
It is important to reiterate that Orinoco Tribune has never requested any support or privilege from the Venezuelan government, as we value our independence, despite our heartfelt commitment to Chavismo and the Bolivarian Revolution, reflected in our unrelenting and constant efforts to present a different perspective on Venezuela in the English language. At the very least, we believe that the Venezuelan government should provide Orinoco Tribune with quality internet service, for which we continue to pay each month. This is another problematic issue, as CANTV does not stop billing you even if you have an open report, unless you request it, something that is very difficult to do due to the terrible service they provide.
On the subject of payments, one must stop and reflect for a second on the fee structure of state-owned CANTV in comparison with private mobile internet service providers such as DIGITEL and MOVISTAR. Over the last two–three years, CANTV has exponentially raised its prices, charging a ridiculous fee. The monthly fee has increased from around $2.50 for a 10MB plan to a relatively expensive fee of above $30. Even Global North subscribers might find this expensive considering the bandwidth provided.
In our own experience, the service has been improving in recent years, but it is still far behind what a medium-quality service provider should offer. In any case, we understand that the context of the illegal US blockade always makes things more complicated in Venezuela.
On the other hand, the MOVISTAR and DIGITEL providers of mobile services have also increased their prices exponentially, and the quality of their service is getting worse by the day. A few years ago some analysts explained that price restrictions imposed by the government affected their investment plans and infrastructure maintenance, thus affecting the service and the users. However, after almost three years of relaxing price controls, their services are still getting worse. We believe this issue also needs to be addressed by Venezuelan authorities, who should demand better quality services from these providers.
Meanwhile, Orinoco Tribune is trapped between a rock and a hard place, by the negligence and inefficiency of CANTV, which surely could have solved our internet issues in matter of days, on the one hand, and by inefficient mobile data providers that make our daily operations very difficult and expensive. We have also resisted looking for alternative service providers, because we feel it is a decision that would only help those who encourage privatization of Venezuela’s essential industries. However, we are reaching a breaking point because of the extremely expensive and inefficient mobile data options.
There are alternative service providers for broadband internet, via satellite or microwave, but their prices for a bandwidth comparable to the one we use, which is very limited, are in the range of $80–120 a month, in addition to the equipment required (antennas/modem), that goes for $300–500 payable at the moment of subscription. Due to our very limited income, this option is, in fact, not an option for us.
We write these lines to call the attention of Venezuelan authorities to the situation, in a last-ditch attempt to have the service re-established, for which we continue to pay, after all, as well as to inform our readers that there is a plan B, a new provider, but this plan B requires some additional support from our reader base or from some NGO in the Global North that may have resources to help us pay for this alternative.
Meanwhile, we will keep doing our best to continue to provide our readers and supporters with the best quality news content available, while pushing our hardest to receive a decent response from CANTV. During these trying times, we thank from the bottom of our heart all of our supporters for their donations, and for sharing our content, including this article.
Orinoco Tribune special by staff
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/November 30, 2023