Effective competition needed in telecommunications

By Randy Howard

REAL and effective competition is still sorely needed in the telecommunications marketplace if the FTC is to be successful in achieving its stated goal of reducing rates for consumers.

According to Chris Halsall, Director of the independent consultant group Ideas 4 Lease, without true competition in the market, the Price Cap Mechanism (PCM) will not benefit consumers unless it is applied more broadly and appropriately.

He was making this point given the fact that the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC), which acts as the regulator, tends to argue that once policies or legislation exists that allowed for competition in the provision of a particular service, then there was no need for them to regulate activity in this area.

“One thing I would argue is that the Commission and the Ministry have made a mistake on, is that as soon as there is the opportunity for competition, they deem that the market has been liberalized and, therefore, there doesn’t need to be any regulation.”

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New Price Cap Period could bring rate reductions …if proper adjustments are made

By Randy Howard

THE new period of the Price Cap Mechanism (PCM), the system used to regulate the telecommunications industry, could result in reduced rates for certain services for consumers, if the right adjustments are made to the plan.

This was the assertion made by Chris Halsall, Director of Ideas 4 Lease, an independent consulting group, and a voting member of the Telecommunications Act Review Committee.

Halsall was commenting on the recent “First Decision” released by the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC) on the issue of the controversial PCM, which over the last three years has allowed local telecommunications provider, Cable & Wireless, to raise their rates on fixed line domestic service by 7 per cent (compounded) each year.

He first stated that he is “very pleased that the FTC has decided to continue with the Price Cap Mechanism. That was the correct decision.”

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