The Managing Director of the Information and Communications Technology Authority says an acceptable level of consumer choice and competition is “not happening” for enough Caymanians and, as a result, the ICTA is beginning to examine a new regime that includes universal service levels from every telecommunications provider.
The ICTA on Friday (12 February) identified its five top priorities for the new year, and the comments from Alee Fa’amoe came in connection with the priority to ensure greater choice and competition.
Mr. Fa’amoe says one of the conditions of ending the old monopoly system of telecommunications services was that there wouldn’t be “cherry picking,” a term defined as providing cable, internet and other services for only the most populated or affluent communities.
“So it’s been over a decade, and that’s not happening,” he said, “We’ve allowed competitive forces the freedom, the time, the luxury to address the market, and they’ve failed to bring competition and choice to a large portion of our citizens. So now we have to act. And one of the ways of doing that is exploring the concept of universal service.”
Mr. Fa’amoe describes the concept as a way to “provide citizens with potentially a menu of services, from any and all providers, no matter where they live… to ensure that as many customers as possible have access to telecommunications services.”
He did not provide a timetable for action but instead is urging providers to reach a consensus on how universal service could be designed and implemented.