PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Melissa Arrindell-Doncher has extended the moratorium on “requests for telecommunications services” by one year.
A five-year moratorium went into effect on May 16, 2013. That moratorium ends on May 15, 2018.
The moratorium was for all requests for telecommunication services with their own infrastructure (concessionaire) and/or those using the infrastructure of third parties (service provider). In this context telecommunication services are understood to mean mobile telecommunication services; fixed telecommunication services; international telecommunications services and broadband services. It does not include new forms of bi-directional voice and/or video traffic or similar services and facilities.
According to a notice in the National Gazette, the decision to set this moratorium and the current extension were made given the parameters set in the prevailing policy for the telecom industry based on the Telecom Market Study.
The decision was also based on the fact that Government needed more time to develop the basis for further expansion to view this industry through new and additional accessions; because Government needed more time to verify the impact of the current composition of this industry, its penetration and the quality of the facility on the economy and because Government must draw up a new “economic impact report” on this matter with specific attention to the facilities offered by licences and concessions for telecommunications services, to determine the extent to which the needs of consumers in St. Maarten and the extent to which the economic growth of St. Maarten is driven before making a decision to adjust the occupation, as previously established in the Telecom Market Study.
Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) is drafting the various telecommunication reports related to the completion of the National Recovery Plan following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Telecom Market Study and updating the National Telecommunication Information Communications Technology (ICT) policy, and will take a longer time to complete all these reports, which are needed to determine market requirements.
Without the BTP reports, an advice cannot be given on the market participants needed per segment of the market to achieve good competition within the telecommunication market in the interest of consumers and participants.
Allowing or issuing additional permits and/or concessions for the telecommunication market can have serious consequences and/or cause injustices to existing companies that have invested in their networks, which can result in services falling below acceptable standards.
It is Government’s job to put policy rules into effect to prevent a negative effect on this industry and the economy and therefore it extends this moratorium with the duration of one year, the notice stated.