Extra cash to ‘bring order’ to telecoms industry – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Extra cash to ‘bring order’ to telecoms industry

An 11 percent increase in the budget for the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Ministry will help “bring order” to the telecommunications industry with the implementation of long-awaited reform, Minister Marc Bean said.

He acknowledged that the industry had seen much “rancour” lately, referring to the legal dispute over the Digicel/Transact long distance service, and the war of words over the launch of other new products by telecoms providers.

Mr Bean said his Ministry’s budget for the fiscal year was $15.7 million an increase of $1.5 million.

“You might ask why, given the economic climate in which each of us now finds ourselves, are we realising an 11 percent increase,” Mr Bean said in a post-Budget news conference yesterday.

“The additional funds have been provided to enable the Department of Telecommunications to implement telecommunications reform, as enshrined in the recent passage of the Regulatory Authority Act 2011 and the Electronic Communications Act 2011.

“As a result of reform, we expect to see a wider range of services at a higher quality for a decreased cost, to the benefit of both consumers and businesses.

“This allocation will enable us to bring order to the regulatory environment, by implementing the long awaited and much needed reform.

“No doubt you will be aware that the telecommunication marketplace has seen much disruption and rancour of late.

“The uncertainty that is created by the current transition period between regulatory regimes is providing opportunities for carriers to push the envelope. While we do not wish to stifle innovation or competition that will be the norm in the near future, we must still retain control of the regulatory environment to ensure that upon implementation of the new regime all carriers will be able to compete fairly.”

Mr Bean added: “I can assure you that we will take all necessary steps to ensure that implementation is a success, including ensuring that no one provider obtains an unfair advantage over others.”

Other than the increase to the Telecoms Department, Mr Bean said all other allocations to the Ministry remained the same as those for 2011-2012.

“Our revenues are expected to remain relatively flat at just under $17 million,” he said. “I am therefore pleased to note that we will be generating more revenue that we will be expending.”

Post-Budget Press Conference: Marc Bean, Minister of Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy.

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Published February 25, 2012 at 7:57 am (Updated February 25, 2012 at 7:56 am)

Extra cash to ‘bring order’ to telecoms industry

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