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BVI Cable TV accuses BVIEC of derailing restoration efforts

- said BVIEC charging exorbitant fees for pole sharing
BVI Cable TV has said it has been working diligently to rebuild its cable network infrastructure in the Virgin Islands despite “continuous opposition” from the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC). Photo: BVIEC/File
BVI Cable TV CEO, Romney Averad Penn, in a statement today, August 14, 2019, said BVI Cable TV has already invested millions and is close to investing new and improved retail services that will include both broadcast television and high speed internet; however, an Injunction by the court, as sought by BVIEC, has “effectively halted” its network deployment. Photo: Facebook
BVI Cable TV CEO, Romney Averad Penn, in a statement today, August 14, 2019, said BVI Cable TV has already invested millions and is close to investing new and improved retail services that will include both broadcast television and high speed internet; however, an Injunction by the court, as sought by BVIEC, has “effectively halted” its network deployment. Photo: Facebook
BVI Cable TV has accused BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) of charging it exorbitant and discriminatory pole sharing fees. Photo: Facebook
BVI Cable TV has accused BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) of charging it exorbitant and discriminatory pole sharing fees. Photo: Facebook
CEO of BVI cable TV, Mr Romney Averad Penn has alleged that since the storms of September 2017, BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has consistently tried to prevent BVI Cable TV from attaching to their pole infrastructure ‘either by outright barring us or by charging exorbitant fees, several times the amount charged to another local telecommunications company.’ Photo: Facebook
CEO of BVI cable TV, Mr Romney Averad Penn has alleged that since the storms of September 2017, BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has consistently tried to prevent BVI Cable TV from attaching to their pole infrastructure ‘either by outright barring us or by charging exorbitant fees, several times the amount charged to another local telecommunications company.’ Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- BVI Cable TV has said it has been working diligently to rebuild its cable network infrastructure in the Virgin Islands despite “continuous opposition” from the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC).

BVI Cable TV CEO, Romney Averad Penn, in a statement today, August 14, 2019, said BVI Cable TV has already invested millions and is close to investing new and improved retail services that will include both broadcast television and high speed internet; however, an Injunction by the court, as sought by BVIEC, has “effectively halted” its network deployment.

‘Exorbitant & discriminatory pole sharing fees’

Mr Penn added that after Hurricane Irma in September 2017, BVIEC discontinued its prior industry practice whereby BVIEC and BVI Cable TV allowed mutual pole sharing at no cost. He said BVIEC has now instituted a new policy whereby BVIEC requires each operator to pay a fee for pole sharing.

According to Mr Penn, while this change fundamentally alters the cost of operating in the Virgin Islands, BVI Cable TV has no objection to the change “except that any fee charge must be in accordance with telecommunications code section 18 paragraph 1, which specifically states that ‘Every public supplier and public  utility must offer to provide and provide access to facilities and utility installations on a non-discriminatory and equitable basis, including with respect to rates, location and other commercial matters.’”

The BVI Cable TV CEO said BVIEC; however, has insisted on charging BVI Cable TV a rate far exceeding [what] another local telecommunications provider is charged. “Unfortunately this dispute is now in the court and an injunction stopping BVI Cable TV from continuing its network deployment has been issued.”

‘Disappointing’

Mr Penn said this development is “disappointing” given the desperate need to rebuild infrastructure in the Virgin Islands and the longstanding cooperative relationship between BVIEC and BVI Cable TV.

“Immediately after Hurricane Irma, BVI Cable TV gave all our unused pole inventory to BVIEC to facilitate their immediate recovery efforts. BVI Cable TV has never prevented or even attempted to charge BVIEC for using any of our pole infrastructure before or after the storms.”

Mr Penn alleged that since the storms of September 2017, BVIEC has consistently tried to prevent BVI Cable TV from attaching to their pole infrastructure “either by outright barring us or by charging exorbitant fees, several times the amount charged to another local telecommunications company.”

He further accused BVIEC of even going against the section of the BVIEC Act that speaks to prescribing tariffs.

Avenues to possibly resolving the issue

Labelling the BVIEC pole sharing fees as “discriminatory, inequitable and ultimately unfair”, Mr Penn said BVIEC will nevertheless try to resolve the dispute using all avenues available, including appealing to BVIEC for non-discriminatory and equitable rate for pole sharing; taking the matter to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC); contesting the matter in court pursuant to the suit filed against BVI Cable TV by BVIEC and requesting an emergency meeting with Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) to “implore the Government of the Virgin Islands to establish a fixed tariff for pole sharing.”

Meanwhile, BVIEC General Manager Mr Leroy A. E. Abraham told Virgin Islands News Online BVIEC will be releasing a statement in response to the public statement by Mr Penn.

 

8 Responses to “BVI Cable TV accuses BVIEC of derailing restoration efforts”

  • asking for a friend (14/08/2019, 17:24) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    is this a civil war?
  • Hmmmm (14/08/2019, 18:24) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Does BVI Cable TV even exists? I thought these people erased BVI Cable TV off the map and rename everything CCT. So is this a real issue with a company that do not exists. So is it Two Companies Again just for this issue?
  • biker (14/08/2019, 18:59) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply

    BVICTV should forget about old-fashioned cable TV with wires hanging on utility poles and just focus on providing a better & cheaper internet service then CCT, Flow & Digicel. 

  • True (14/08/2019, 20:38) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    what did they expect? After Irma they folded and left BVIEC to fix everything now that the poles are fixed they want to use them again??? WTF The TV they provide is rubbish anyway
    • Yup (15/08/2019, 10:49) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yup exactly. Backbencing off the hard work of BVIEC. I thought BVICTV was dissolved?
  • Guest (15/08/2019, 00:37) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Question did Cablle Tv assist with repairing the poles after Irma? I don’t remember seeing them correct me if I am wrong. I do remember seeing electricity killing themselevs for months doing the work. So I don’t exactly seem to understand Mr Penn.
  • Bizzy Bee (15/08/2019, 11:36) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    Post Irma, the proper priority was re-electrifying the territory, with landline communications & entertainment taking a back seat to cellular. The path the visiting electric crews took was to basically rebuild the system, new poles and line. The hodgepodge of various poles and wires of disparate sizes that we had going on across the island pretty much all came down anyway.
    First get the power back on, then worry about telephone and cable.
    Two different communications utilities being charged different rates does indeed sound a bit dodgy, like favouritism.


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