Monday, October 13, 2008

BVI Government Lifts the Ban on Cell Towers Construction

Next day after the announcement by Minister of Communications and Works Hon. Julian Fraser that BVI government lifted the stop of cell sites construction in the territory, Digicel BVI Ltd began the process of relocating the first of several cellular site in the BVI in areas of concern identified by the BVI community.

The BVI government placed a stop order on any further construction of mobile towers on 26 June this year, and construction work was frozen for three months as government organized several meetings between all three licensed telecommunications operators - Cable & Wireless, CCT Global Communications and Digicel – to agree on a tower sharing strategy. The Ministry for Communications and Works and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission from their side participated in the meetings.

The last meeting of the three mobile providers was held on 26 September, at the invitation of Hon. Julian Fraser who facilitated it with the purpose to review mobile operators' strategy and agreement on co-location of towers in the territory. The mobile operators have agreed on sharing approximately 20 cellular tower sites, and some additional locations are currently undergoing technical evaluation concerning their ability to support co-location.

So, following consideration of the progress made by BVI government and the commitment by the operators achieved in the series of meetings and negotiations, on Monday Minister Fraser announced the decision to lift the freeze. The approval of the mobile tower sharing strategy allowed the recommencement of the construction of mobile towers in BVI.

The benefits of the tower sharing strategy and implementing recently developed DRAFT planning guidelines are minimization of the proliferation of cell towers throughout the territory (which was the problem of the community), and providing mobile operators the ability to improve their coverage profiles.

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