New telecom legislation to deal with changing industry within OECS

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Aug 18, CMC – Member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) are expected to lay before their respective parliaments, the Electronic Communications Bill aimed at updating existing legislation to deal with a changing telecommunications environment.

Communications Minister Vincent Byron Jr, said that there was a need to introduce the new legislation because the industry has transformed beyond telecommunications. He said it is committed to net neutrality, which enables access to an open internet where member states can utilize.

ECTEL“We have basically come to a point where through the dynamism of the telecoms industry and the advancements that have been made in technology, we are at a point where the existing (Telecommunications) Act can no longer work for us,” said ECTEL director, Quincy Prentice..

“This (Electronic Communications) Bill takes care of a number of issues that is currently prevalent throughout a number of the member territories,” said Prentice, adding that the telecommunications industry throughout ECTEL member states is currently characterized by an increasing rate of fixed and mobile penetration.

“In the case of St. Kitts and Nevis for instance, we have a mobile penetration rate in excess of 156 per cent. So if you were to break that down in layman’s terms it essentially means that you have more cell phones than people in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said on a radio programme here.

Prentice said that over the past six years there has been a marked shift in the utilization of telecom traditional services to internet protocol (IP) base or over the top services such as apps on smartphones.

“There is a gradual shift from the traditional services that would have been provided by the existing telecoms companies to a lot of services that are based on the internet,” he said.

“What does this means for us? It means that a number of these existing companies that would have essentially grown and built their business modules on these traditional services are now having to evolve as the consumers change their behaviour.”

The ECTEL official said that regulators and governments also have to evolve “because if it affects the service providers who are hiring persons, who are responsible for paying taxes and licensing fees, it is going to affect you”.

Prentice said that the new legislation speaks to the level of service within each country, as this is a very important element where consumers must receive great service for their monies.

“There are a number of sections in the new Bill that seek to address quality of service because any user of telecom services in St. Kitts and Nevis has encountered an issue, be it with your internet going down or your internet dropping periodically…,” he added, noting that there will be specific key performance indicators (KPI) within the new legislation that each service provider will have to meet.

ECTEL was established in 2000 and serves as the regulatory body for Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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by STAFF WRITER
 

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Aug 18, CMC – Member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) are expected to lay before their respective parliaments, the Electronic Communications Bill aimed at updating existing legislation to deal with a changing telecommunications environment.

Communications Minister Vincent Byron Jr, said that there was a need to introduce the new legislation because the industry has transformed beyond telecommunications. He said it is committed to net neutrality, which enables access to an open internet where member states can utilize.

ECTEL“We have basically come to a point where through the dynamism of the telecoms industry and the advancements that have been made in technology, we are at a point where the existing (Telecommunications) Act can no longer work for us,” said ECTEL director, Quincy Prentice..

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“This (Electronic Communications) Bill takes care of a number of issues that is currently prevalent throughout a number of the member territories,” said Prentice, adding that the telecommunications industry throughout ECTEL member states is currently characterized by an increasing rate of fixed and mobile penetration.

“In the case of St. Kitts and Nevis for instance, we have a mobile penetration rate in excess of 156 per cent. So if you were to break that down in layman’s terms it essentially means that you have more cell phones than people in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said on a radio programme here.

Prentice said that over the past six years there has been a marked shift in the utilization of telecom traditional services to internet protocol (IP) base or over the top services such as apps on smartphones.

“There is a gradual shift from the traditional services that would have been provided by the existing telecoms companies to a lot of services that are based on the internet,” he said.

“What does this means for us? It means that a number of these existing companies that would have essentially grown and built their business modules on these traditional services are now having to evolve as the consumers change their behaviour.”

The ECTEL official said that regulators and governments also have to evolve “because if it affects the service providers who are hiring persons, who are responsible for paying taxes and licensing fees, it is going to affect you”.

Prentice said that the new legislation speaks to the level of service within each country, as this is a very important element where consumers must receive great service for their monies.

“There are a number of sections in the new Bill that seek to address quality of service because any user of telecom services in St. Kitts and Nevis has encountered an issue, be it with your internet going down or your internet dropping periodically…,” he added, noting that there will be specific key performance indicators (KPI) within the new legislation that each service provider will have to meet.

ECTEL was established in 2000 and serves as the regulatory body for Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.