ICOLs get mixed response from telecoms firms

  • Tbi president Greg Swan

    Tbi president Greg Swan

  • North Rock Communications general manager Vicki Coelho

    North Rock Communications general manager Vicki Coelho

  • CellOne COO Frank Amaral

    CellOne COO Frank Amaral

Telecoms providers welcomed Government’s announcement that they will finally be able to offer bundled services to customers next March.

But one provider cautioned there was still a lot of groundwork that needed to be done to prepare for the issuing of Bermuda’s first Integrated Communications Operating Licences (ICOLs).

“North Rock Communications recognises the need for effective regulatory structure,” said Vicki Coelho, general manager of internet service provider North Rock Communications.

“As we have previously stated we are concerned with the costs of the (Regulatory) Authority which is estimated to be in the millions. These costs ultimately will be passed onto the consumer. There is a great deal of analysis and market dominance work that needs to be completed prior to the ICOL’s being issued.”

She added: “North Rock continues to look at how best we can provide innovation, customer service, and good value in the current structure.”

Last week Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean announced he was committing to issuing ICOLs no later than March 31.

“As the Ministry fully engages and mobilises the technical and professional expertise in the coming months, we shall be working diligently to deliver in advance of this critical date,” Mr Bean said.

“In this regard, I shall provide an update at the beginning of October this year. However, there is much to be done between now and then and the support of the industry will be pivotal to our ability to hit this target.”

Frank Amaral, chief operating officer of CellOne said the company “welcomes the continued progress towards the granting of ICOL’s whereby carriers can finally offer a broader range of services all under one roof”.

And Gregory Swan, president and COO of Tbi, said of the Minister’s announcement: “Bermudians are as savvy as any when it comes to telecommunications devices and product/service offerings. With this, the overall expectation in terms of service availability of cutting edge technologies will continue to drive this industry.

“As technologies continue to evolve and the lines of demarcation continue to blur, having the appropriate legislation and regulatory structure in place, to meet the ever changing dynamics of the industry, will be paramount.”

The long-awaited passage last November of the Electronics Communications Act and the Regulatory Authority Act paved the way for the Government’s planned telecoms overhaul to allow providers to offer bundled services under one monthly bill such as phone, internet, TV and wireless.

In the House of Assembly on Friday Minister Bean updated MPs on the ICOL timetable, and also gave assurances that the Island’s providers would continue to be consulted on the reform process.

“All telecommunications industry service providers will have a role to play as we stride towards full implementation of reform and we regard our relationship as a partnership,” Mr Bean said.

“Of course they will be invited to contribute constructive and critical input from their perspective on many of the specifics in the key work areas that need to be completed before an ICOL can be issued.”

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Published May 21, 2012 at 9:02 am (Updated May 21, 2012 at 9:02 am)

ICOLs get mixed response from telecoms firms

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