Sunday, April 29, 2007

BVI Government to Approve Telecommunications Liberalisation Policy

The British Virgin Islands government has approved a telecommunications liberalisation policy setting out the number of operators allowed in the market. The policy of liberalisation and restructuring of the telecommunications industry in the British Virgin Islands, provided by the new Telecommunications Act 2006, restricts the market to the three existing operators for three years.

Elmore Stoutt, Minister for Communications and Works, has announced that starting with Monday the BVI government is inviting applications under the title “Licence for the Operation of Telecommunnications Network Providing Telecommunications Services in the British Virgin Islands”, through the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), from the three currently licensed public suppliers: BVI Cable TV, Cable & Wireless, and CCT Global Communications.

It was already mentioned that CCT and Cable & Wireless were the only two telecoms providers seeking to receive licences from government, as the liberalisation process continued. Current applications will be accepted until May, 2007.

It is announced by the BVI Government that, although the market is only open to the three existing licensed operators, successful applicants will compete in all areas of telecommunications including fixed, mobile and international services, Internet and the distribution of cable network and wireless network television programme services.

The TRC will review all the information submitted in the applications, to give its approval; then, licences will be issued to the current operators for a period of 15 years. However, after the three year period the Minister for Communications and Works will make a review to determine if the market could accept additional operators.

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