‘No’ to Digicel Cayman plan
LOCAL LOOP UNBUNDLING is often touted as a regulatory measure to stimulate competition and provides benefits to an economy.
But the regulatory authority in the Cayman Islands recently ruled there would be no benefits to the society or the economy and denied a request from Digicel for access to the LIME networks there that handle basic telephone and broadband services.
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) said local loop unbundling would incur unjustifiable cost and prove “detrimental to the future economic and infrastructure development of the Cayman Islands, and thus [was] contrary to public interest”.
Digicel had contended that local loop unbundling would have enabled faster broadband roll out and “far more vigorous competition”, hence it was goof for the economy and society.
The ICTA said there was already significant investment in deployment of broadband by the various licencees and considered the cost of competition of local loop unbundling. It essentially agreed with LIME that such a requirement, given that it had invesed $30 million over the past two years in its superfast broadband roll out, was unwarranted.
A decision in favour of LLU would have been a disincentive to LIME to deploy broadband in less populated areas of the Cayman Islands, LIME said in a statement.
LIME Cayman Islands chief executive officer Bill McCabe said: “We are very pleased with the outcome. It is both pro consumer and pro investment, essential to ingredients for good regulatory decisions. This ruling sends a strong message to any business thinking about investing in the Cayman Islands that those investments will not be subject to inappropriate regulatory intervention whilst ensuring that consumers will benefit from an attractive environment for solid infrastructure investment.”
Digicel requested access to LIME’s fixed wire network in 2011. When this was rejected it followed up by filing a complaint to the regulator in February 2012. The ICTA launched a hearing on local loop unbundling in July 2013. (HH)