Communications sector open for new licences
New businesses could enter Bermuda’s electronic communications sector when a freeze on the market ends soon.
Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, instructed the Regulatory Authority to lift a moratorium on the granting of both Communication Operating Licences and Integrated Communication Operating Licences.
He said yesterday: “This move will ultimately result in the opportunity for new entrants into the Bermuda telecommunications market.
“This is in keeping with meeting this government’s objective of attracting inward investment, supporting economic diversification and growth, and creating jobs for Bermudians.”
Mr Roban explained that when the RA started its work in 2013 the approval of new ICOLs was suspended.
He said: “The rationale at that time was that there were already about 20 licensees at that point, and more would simply dilute the market even further.
“Over the years, with that moratorium in place, Bermuda has gone from a vibrant and competitive environment to one far less dynamic, and, arguably, less competitive — all through a series of mergers and acquisitions, where the electronic communications market has become an oligopoly, perhaps not serving the public as well as it might.
“Examining market conditions, I decided to direct the Regulatory Authority to lift the moratorium, ultimately reopening Bermuda’s electronic communications sector to accept new entrants into the market. ”
A RA spokeswoman said: “The RA has begun the process of establishing the framework to apply for and issue new licences to deliver electronic communication services to the Bermuda marketplace.
“Prior to granting the licences, the RA will hold a consultation period from April 5 to April 26 to gain feedback from the public regarding the criteria, conditions, requirements and procedures necessary to receive a COL or ICOL.
“Following the consultation period, the authority will make decisions and recommendations back to the Minister about the required policy and regulations.”
Denton Williams, chief executive at the RA, added: “One of the mandates of the RA is to promote and preserve competition in the interest of residents and consumers of Bermuda and to promote the development of the economy, Bermudian employment and Bermudian ownership.
“Reopening the electronic communications sector to new entrants is directly in line with our mandate.”
• For more information, or to provide feedback, visit the RA’s website at www.rab.bm</i>