Hammer Out Telecoms’ Astronomical Charges: Minister Says

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Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion Hon. Marlon Penn called for the hammer to be used on telecommunications service providers who offer other Caribbean jurisdictions better service for less than what they charge in the BVI.

While speaking in the House of Assembly on March 16, Hon. Penn announced that the disparity between what is offered here and what is given overseas troubles him: “we have significant concerns in terms of the reliability, and the level of service that is being delivered to the people, and the businesses within the Territory by many of the carriers,” the Government backbencher declared.

In noting that the situation has been ongoing for too long Hon. Penn, who is also the Eighth District Representative, stated: “Hon. Fraser and I have been constantly lamenting on this issue, and other members as well, about the reliability and the value for service that the carriers give to the public and persons who access these services.”

The Legislator specifically targeted his complaint to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) stating that the matter ought to be dealt with: “After ten years of being in existence (TRC) we have to do better than this. We have two of the main carriers who operate throughout the region, and some operate locally; and you see what they offer to our counterparts in the other Caribbean regions. We have similar or more advanced technology here locally, and the cost that we pay is astronomical. We have to really put the hammer where it needs to be in terms of making sure that this industry is properly regulated to ensure that we get value for our customers, value for our businesses and it starts with the TRC— it starts with the Chairman and the CEO.”

“I know they’ve (TRC) been doing some work, but I think we need to fast track much of this work in this area because I believe we pay top dollar. When you see the level of service that you get, and the money that we pay for shoddy internet services it is really unbecoming of a country of our magnitude. Our financial services and all the major industries that we operate depend on this level of service and the efficiencies that derive from telecom services. So TRC has a lot of work to do,” Hon. Penn added.

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