|Gov't proposes new telecoms regulatory system
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
|PAULWELL... I think that we have to decide on one single regulator|
GOVERNMENT wants to establish a one-stop regulatory agency to govern the converging information and telecommunication sectors ahead of the full liberalisation of the industry later this year.
"I think that we have to decide on one single regulator (and) a one-stop-shop where you go and you are exposed to all the areas relating to convergence," technology minister Phillip Paulwell told industry players attending a consultation at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Monday.
|LYNCH... the OUR is inadequately staffed with the expertise to oversee a fully liberalised telecoms environment|
The consultation was organised by the technology ministry in collaboration with an advisory council of stakeholders in order to influence the reform of the telecommunications law and policy that were introduced in 2000.
Both measures were transitional and formed part of the administration's strategy to introduce a liberalised telecoms industry on a phased basis.
Paulwell stressed that one of the issues to be addressed in the new policy framework is the role of several regulatory agencies such as the Spectrum Management Authority, the Broadcasting Commission, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the UWI which administers the .jm domain, in light of the convergence of telecommunication, broadcasting and Internet technologies.
Said he: "I do not believe that the same regulatory system is going to enable us to realise the tremendous benefit of a fully liberalised environment.
"We want the promotion of competition so that when we err, we err in favour of competition. That is going to be the primary motive as we look to a new regulatory system and regime," he added.
Meantime, several participants, including Seamus Lynch, CEO of mobile phone provider, Digicel, argued that the OUR was inadequately staffed with the expertise to oversee a fully liberalised telecoms environment and urged government to contract the services from abroad.
And Hopeton Dunn, chairman of the Jamaica Telecommunications Advisory Council, said a study commissioned by the council identified human resource as a deficiency in the management of the island's telecoms industry.
But in response, Courtney Jackson, a deputy director of the OUR, said the shortage of expertise was worldwide, even in advanced countries, due to the new and changing technologies.