San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

How Long Must I Wait for a Phone?

I live in El Roble de Santo Domingo, in Heredia. I have been waiting years for a land-based phone line, but am always told eight months or next year. Can you find out the schedule for any work to begin? Thank you. By the way, the workers at the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) have always been great.

Thomas Hubin

El Roble de Santo Domingo, Heredia

The Tico Times contacted ICE, the state-run telephone service monopoly, and navigated a sea of bureaucracy in an attempt to answer your question. We contacted five different ICE officials in five different departments, none of whom was able to give us a satisfactory answer.

ICE spokeswoman Dalia Vega asked Fernando Pacheco, coordinator of the Heredia sector, why you haven’t received a line. He told Vega he would be forwarding the request to the Alajuela sector, because the Alajuela office provides phones to your Heredia address.

When The Tico Times contacted Alajuela sector coordinator Mayela Mcadam, she said she didn’t think your address is in her jurisdiction. She contacted Pacheco and told him. Then, Pacheco informed Vega and Mcadam that the problem is really that the network in your sector is saturated and there are at least 30 orders backed up for new phone lines. He said you won’t be able to get a phone line until the network is expanded. When might that be? Apparently, it’s anybody’s guess.

When The Tico Times asked who is in charge of expanding the network, Mcadam and Pacheco referred us to ICE’s Planning Department. Planning Department representative Alejandra Porras said her department has requested that the Engineering Department expand the network in your area, as well as other networks. But she said the Planning Department does not know if or when the Engineering Department will expand the network.

“We have various problems in various sectors. Since ICE is so big, we have to go through all the steps to solicit improvements from all the sectors each year. We don’t know when they’ll do them,” she said. She said to contact Franklin Granados, in the Engineering Department, who after repeated phone messages, finally called The Tico Times and said El Roble is a jurisdictional grey area. He promised to check and see if the matter falls under his jurisdiction.

The Tico Times sent him a copy of Hubin’s request and hasn’t heard back from him.  Then, last week, The Tico Times received an e-mail with a letter attached that was sent from the Alajuela sector to a different ICE engineer, Diego Cartín, of the institute’s Networks and Services Division.

The letter reads in part: “With the goal of giving the press office an answer regarding the installation of services in El Roble … we are requesting information about the progress of the project to expand the network in this sector that has saturation problems on its primary network, and which is why the network was declared a priority in 2003, 2005, and 2006, and still has no solution.”


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