As competitive as the current political landscape might be, it seems as if there is one area that all political parties and candidates are uniting on, and that is poor internet service.
For years it has been lamented that the internet service in the BVI is sub-standard and is not fitting or sufficient for the modern economy of the BVI and legislators from both sides of the political aisle have been stressing that the current offering is subpar.
The Chairman of Progressive United Hon. Julian Fraser has spoken extensively of telecommunications shortcomings in the Territory and is on the public record for calling for more from the various service providers in the BVI.
The matter was zoomed on by independent campaign Dancia Penn who during her campaign launch on 2 February called for the modernizing of the Territory’s telecommunications sector and for better service as she announced: “we have very, very slow internet.” And TRC seems asleep we may add.
Besides making the promise to improve that area on the campaign trail, the politicians have also included the situation of remedying the internet service in their agendas. The National Democratic Party said: “A re-elected NDP’s overarching vision for this sector is to improve the telecommunications infrastructure to deliver greater capacity, speed reliability and resiliency at fair and affordable prices.”
To this end the NDP said that if it is re-elected it will require the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to develop a strategy to deliver on the Territory’s objectives for greater capacity, speed, reliability, resiliency, fairness and low cost. Further, the NDP plans to urge the TRC to help to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with local internet service providers to promote cooperation among the providers in areas that are relevant to their operation network.
The NDP is also planning to partner with existing telecom companies to finally support through adequate incentives the delivery of services to meet the Territory’s telecoms demand. The Party also plans to improve market regulations and enforcement mechanisms to deter and punish poor practices or breaches by telecom companies. There is also a plan to partner with telecom companies to provide greater WI-FI coverage at key public locations across the Territory.
Meanwhile the Virgin Islands Party is planning to work with service providers to supply more bandwidth required to support the digital ambitions of the BVI. The VIP said that it will facilitate the upgrading of the Territory’s high speed network by incentivizing the establishments of high speed internet to transmit data through the Virgin Islands.
The VIP said that it will work with the service providers to achieve cheaper costs and more bandwidth, and more fiber optic services.
On the other hand the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement said: “A PVIM Government will commit as a matter of urgent priorities to improving our telecommunications infrastructure and to enforcing the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Act to ensure that service providers deliver services to the people as promised and at a Level commensurate to the fees charged for such services.”