Digicel against proposed law
GEORGETOWN – The Irish-based telecommunications company, Digicel, has expressed dissatisfaction with certain sections of the draft telecommunications law that the Guyana government intends to take to Parliament soon.
Gregory Dean, chief executive officer of Digicel (Guyana), indicated there were some operational or implementation factors which would be difficult.
He told reporters the company expected more consultations on the new draft legislation.
The Bharat Jagdeo government has said new telecom laws and regulations would better protect subscribers and ensure that providers abided by a stricter pricing policy under a liberalised sector.
Dean said one of Digicel’s was the possibility of forced expansion rather than allowing for it to be undertaken on the basis of demand and supply.
“For us, while network rollout is ongoing, we see it (as) let the market dictate how the process will be done rather than force it through regulatory … basically, rather than using rules and regulations, let the market forces drive it initially,” said Dean who added that the company had expected that public consultations would be held on the new legislation and regulations.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has also expressed an interest in wide public consultations.
Government has said that the consultation period would be extended but no specific time frame has been given but Dean said that the matter should not halt the process towards liberalisation of the telecom sector here.
“We shouldn’t link all the things together and hold everything up because we want to link everything together and wait for some perfect world because that day may never come,” he added.
GT&T has a monopoly on international voice and data, and Digicel, which is not allowed to offer international phone calls without going through its major competitor, said the monopoly was preventing it from getting a return on its US$60 million investment here.
Digicel says it now provides services to 95 per cent of Guyana’s population. (CMC)