TelEm challenges BTP fines in court | THE DAILY HERALD

POND ISLAND–The TelEm Group said on Friday that it is taking “very seriously” the actions being taken by the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post (BTP) to impose fines on the company for allegedly not providing adequate service to St. Maarten Cable TV’s paying customers.

In a press release issued after The Daily Herald posed a number of questions about the matter, TelEm said it had purchased the local cable TV company in January 2017 and recently obtained court permission to dismiss 17 workers remaining in the company, paying them termination packages.

BTP had said that TelEm had failed to deliver on service and is being fined for a number of infractions required under Cable TV’s operating concession.

However, TelEm Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kendall Dupersoy said he was “most surprised” by BTP’s public pronouncements, noting that he is greatly troubled at what the regulator’s motivation would be. He said TelEm has turned to the courts to reject the BTP fines and will make its own case before a judge.

“It is not a secret to the BTP that our hands have been literally tied so far as restoration of the Cable TV infrastructure, because of the extent of the damage in the first place and, secondly, because of various reasons connected with the court case while it was ongoing,” said Dupersoy. “The public and customers of St. Maarten Cable TV are aware of these developments through the various media outlets and also directly by us and when we have made good on credit payments to customers who have not been receiving the service they paid for.”

He said that in the same way the public and customers are aware, so too must be the regulator. Therefore, he questions BTP’s threatened action against TelEm Group and its motivation for wanting to remove the Cable TV licence from the company if its intention is to secure cable TV services to customers generally.

“The general public and Cable TV customers should be aware that we have addressed the matter of Cable TV services on the island with the shareholder of TelEm Group, as recently as July 5, when we outlined all the issues we are having and how we intend to move forward to fully provide service to customers now that matters have been cleared up within the courts,” Dupersoy said.

He said part of the information to the shareholder in actual fact was TelEm Group’s plan to replace the major part of the outdated Cable TV system with a more modern IPTV service that will utilise a brand-new fibre-optic network that is being laid country-wide by TelEm Group, offering more bandwidth to customers than has ever been available in St. Maarten, with the potential for many more services than presently available from St. Maarten Cable TV’s infrastructure alone.

Source: The Daily Herald