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Hon Marlon A. Penn blames poor internet on liberalisation of telecoms

Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has claimed that the issues of poor internet services and drop calls in the Virgin Islands were caused by the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
The three cellular service and internet service providers in the Virgin Islands are (top to bottom): Flow, CCT Global Communications and Digicel. Photo: VINO/File
The three cellular service and internet service providers in the Virgin Islands are (top to bottom): Flow, CCT Global Communications and Digicel. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands was ranked by a British report last year as having one of the worst and most expensive internet services on earth.

Many users of the internet services in the British Overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands agreed with the report and as of today April 9, 2018 there have been no improvements in internet services by the main three carriers or the issue of drop calls from cellular phones.

It’s liberalisation- Hon Penn

However, Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) claimed that the issue was caused by the liberalisation of the Telecommunications sector in the Virgin Islands (VI).

While speaking at the debate on the controversial Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Bill 2018 last month, the Junior Minister stated that, “whatever laws have passed through this House, it is we who passed it through this House…We liberated the telecoms sector to a point where it cannot sustain itself, and now we complain about the service that we get. Those are decisions we made,” Hon Penn stated.

Many users and experts of internet and cellular phone service industry in the VI have rejected this notion and blamed the Government for lack of proper regulations, enforcement and a proper customer complaint mechanism against the three main carriers- Flow, CCT Global Communications and Digicel.

A fourth provider? Yes, No, Maybe so

Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) said last year he was tired of the poor internet services and had enough of talking and warned the providers that if they did not improve he would seek a fourth carrier into the Territory’s market.

However, Premier and Leader of Government business Dr The Honourable D, Orlando Smith (AL) contradicted another of his minister at a press conference earlier this year when he said “no more telecommunications providers will be allowed in the VI market.”

Meanwhile, the public it seems will have to endure high internet cost, poor services and drop calls around the islands for a long time.

30 Responses to “Hon Marlon A. Penn blames poor internet on liberalisation of telecoms”

  • yes (09/04/2018, 12:26) Like (4) Dislike (20) Reply
    He is right! There's no room for 3 providers in the BVI.
    • Reply (09/04/2018, 14:20) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
      why not?
    • Bizzy Bee (09/04/2018, 16:55) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      It seems pretty clear that the investment club doesn't fancy the competition for the original monopoly cell provider. Perhaps if they hadn't let the company languish, especially 6 years or so ago when their whole system collapsed over New Years week. Maybe they should "invest" in their company?
    • l (09/04/2018, 17:05) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      What do you mean? That's rubbish. They need to step up their game and stop blaming competition.
    • @yes (09/04/2018, 22:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Please read properly. The man about to bring carrier #4 Genius ! "Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) said last year he was tired of the poor internet services and had enough of talking and warned the providers that if they did not improve he would seek a fourth carrier into the Territory’s market."
  • One word (09/04/2018, 12:36) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
  • ... (09/04/2018, 12:52) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    please sumf what lame excuse
  • Fustrated long time (09/04/2018, 13:09) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    The cost of internet is insane to me here in the British Virgin Islands. If I stop to think about the actual price for unlimited access to wifi it blows my mind. The internet is used for many thing but to me it represents access, access to academic resources among many other resources. At over a $100 usd per month it is unsatisfactory the one cannot obtain a wifi package at a relatively decent speed. At a $100+ a month I should at least be able to watch a movie on Netflix without the excess buffering. What is really the problem with the poor service provided? and what are the possible remedies to address these problems?
  • Lord o (09/04/2018, 13:10) Like (21) Dislike (2) Reply
    Worst and most expensive.. That's accurate.. Time for these Back Benchers to stop complaining, they seem to have the solutions..Come together and take over the government and bring corrective relief to us... Get the problems solve.. They have the numbers. Make it happen.. Oneal and fahie wont go along.. So they need two more members.. So they have 3 members to consult..Frazer.. Myron...Ronnie... Now i see why its not that easy.. Not enough Cheese for those bossy Rats..
  • It needs more (09/04/2018, 14:04) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    Providers as the competitition will be stiff and the prices will be lowered no. To think of it it seems as if only in the Caribbean internet is so expensive. A dollar is a dollar everywhere you go but if you are in a place like Mexico and you paying for a monthly package of csble internet and landline @200 pesos or say $20 US that is cheap. In our islands it is expensive and every minute the service dropping out. Something wrong with your FLOW internet you call and some one from Panama Costa Rica or Jamaica answers then about 2 or 3 days or a week later a local tecnician shows up.This full of nonsense eh.This world and the corruption is in every aspect of live.
  • ON[Beast Mode] (09/04/2018, 14:06) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    What is he saying really? The liberalization of his particular sector broke up the monopoly (not the game) that SLOW/C&W has on the BVI for decades. I ask you this Mr. Penn - what would the markets look like today if just Harney’s, C&W, Riteway and there list could go on and on were the singular players in their respective sectors? It would be hell here I tell you and all the monies you and your gang have mismanaged would not have bee ther to being with. I thought you were an intelligent young prodigy; but alas you have proven to be nothing more than sandwich filler - not much substance and a lot of stale air! I say liberalize the utilities sector - water and electricity and hopefully with more choices better services which are desperately needed will manifest. For now the subject Minister & yourself receive an “F” for the little to none accomplishments you gangsters espouse every media chance you get! I’m paying The red and white carrier $250/month for residential unlimited access and it’s notnworth it; but having 2 teens and a pre-teen they suck data and bandwidth and leaves the speed running like molasses- which should not be the case. TRC is utterly useless and should be shut down until it can be sorted out and actually do for the people that are tirelessly working out here to pay their ridiculously high salaries for doing diddly squat! Wish this was a litigation society so that both TRC and the carriers could be sued for false advertising and breaches of contract!!
  • Thomas Christopher Famous (09/04/2018, 14:12) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply

    "Economic liberalization (or economic liberalisation) is the lessening of government regulations and restrictions in an economy in exchange for greater participation by private entities; the doctrine is associated with classical liberalism. Thus, liberalization in short is "the removal of controls" in order to encourage economic development.[1] It is also closely associated with neoliberalism.

    Most high-income countries have pursued the path of economic liberalization in recent decades with the stated goal of maintaining or increasing their competitiveness as business environments. Liberalization policies include partial or full privatisation of government institutions and assets, greater labour market flexibility, lower tax rates for businesses, less restriction on both domestic and foreign capital, open markets, etc. In support of liberalization, ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote that: "Success will go to those companies and countries which are swift to adapt, slow to complain, open and willing to change. The task of modern governments is to ensure that our countries can rise to this challenge."[2]"

    Liberalisation generally means increased competition with better services and lower prices through competitive rates.
    What has happened in the BVI is mass conspiracy by 3 providers to unashamedly and collectively fleece anyone using data in the territory.

    The government, for whatever reasons, are clearly reluctant to bring regulation and consumer protection.
  • cromwell (09/04/2018, 14:30) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    AT&T should be given an opportunity to quote for the Internet business as they will severely undercut the three local services which is what is required to give the people here a reliable and cost effective service. The government should then replace the most expensive of the current three providers.
    • Really (09/04/2018, 23:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      You don’t even have to go that far viya a new company in the USVI has way better prices than the BVI and they have a lot more competitors and big name ones like you just mentioned
    • nonsense (10/04/2018, 09:50) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      And then when they come we hear the stupid cries about them killing local business blah blah. There is a reason the BVI is in this mess and it's not the Government.
  • Just Woke (09/04/2018, 14:41) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Two opposition. Five Ministers. Six Back Benchers . Yet for 3 yrs we still have Six back benchers. only in the BVI..
    • @ just woke (10/04/2018, 14:00) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      They are all bad for the country. Don’t expect anything more or different from the ndp back and front benchers. Get rid of them all.
  • Diplomat (09/04/2018, 14:50) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nonsense! This is poor rationalization for poor telecommunications service. Established minimum standards and enforce them. If providers want to stay in the game, they have to hurdle at least the minimum standards. But instead of enforcing the standards, we play politics and lower the bar.
  • choice (09/04/2018, 15:04) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    All these providers is doing is ripping off people with their high prices for nothing it is a damn shame how our representatives are doing nothing about it . Is money going under the table. No cable and a shit for internet NDP keep it up we are going to show you all the power we the voters have.
  • yesman (09/04/2018, 15:06) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am using digicel, it is worst I have ever used in my life, no other option than to stay with it ! They are cheating BVI users!
  • EE Waste Management (09/04/2018, 15:28) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Worst internet, worst government, what’s next.
  • insider (09/04/2018, 19:13) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Heard they getting rid of guy
  • Clueless (09/04/2018, 22:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    See ... Clueless
  • See (10/04/2018, 09:05) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    We have become a country of excuses for everything . Bad internet bad roads bad service bad sewage and water people late for everything and no control over the crime and the young people . Lots of bs talk but nothing changes . We either get off our collective asses and DEMAND CHANGE or just shut up and watch the other small islands pass us by
  • hah (10/04/2018, 09:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    What I know for a fact is my bill got way lower and inclusive packages were introduced as soon as the CCT monopoly ended.
  • Mr. Hodge (10/04/2018, 11:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tortola is big from here to the other side of the street yet there are 3 telecom companies competing for the same $100. One primarily catering to islands south and east of us. The TRC lacts teeth and the only time I can recall them showing any type of grit was when they went after CCT for attempting to provide services the other 2 weren’t willing to do... ain’t that sump’m. The introduction of a larger provider would cause the existing 3 to collapse as I am sure speed would be optimal and $$$ reduced
  • shark (10/04/2018, 22:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    When you have persons that know their job and can do the job.with out interference from these ministers that is the problem.even though he is the C.E.O there are limited things he can do with our these ministers interference in the telecom liberisation.

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