PHILIPSBURG–Caribbean Teleview Services operating as St. Maarten Cable TV has received several administrative fines from Bureau Telecommunications and Post (BTP) for “substantial licence violations” and stands to lose its licence if its infractions are not corrected.
BTP said on Wednesday Cable TV’s quality of service standards have not been met for more than 10 months, country-wide coverage is no longer guaranteed, the licence-holder is not adhering to BTP’s instructions post-Hurricane Irma and the company failed to comply with various licence conditions and directives as stipulated in its Ministerial Decree.
BTP said in a press release that it had counted no less than 14 violations for which the licence-holder has been sanctioned.
BTP Director Anthony Carty said it was worrisome that due process had never been followed when St. Maarten Cable TV was “allegedly acquired” by a local telecom operator. “Failure to comply with stipulations set forth in the law, regulations and licences may result in situations whereby the employees and customers of the licence-holder are placed at risk, as continuity of service is no longer guaranteed,” it was stated in the press release.
“Telecommunications is a critical service for the functioning of a society and economy. We therefore believe that business continuity in our industry should always be of the highest priority. To safeguard the quality of service of St. Maarten Cable TV and the position of their subscribers we’ve decided to issue administration fines for each licence violation.”
BTP said full compliance from the licence-holder is now expected, and country-wide service needs to be restored as soon as possible.
“BTP duly informed the Management of Cable TV that it holds the right to issue new fines or even suspend or revoke the licences of St. Maarten Cable TV if the violations are not resolved and deemed to be of a structural nature.
“The availability of reliable TV services on the island has our fullest attention. We see TV as a very powerful tool to relay information to our citizens – especially during the Atlantic hurricane season, but also to educate people and provide entertainment and relaxation. It’s of great importance that island-wide telecom services, including, but not limited to, TV services, need to return to normalcy.
“For that reason, other entities within the telecom industry, such as Internet service providers and fixed and mobile providers, are also subjected to in-depth network assessments of BTP. We are working diligently with the Minister of TEATT [Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications – Ed.] and all other stakeholders involved to get improved services (in) St. Maarten within a short time,” BTP said.