At least two internet service providers have expressed interest in expanding to the BVI since Government announced that a decision might be made to invite another telecommunications company to the Territory to offer improved service to the many frustrated residents.
The intent to further expand the telecoms market was disclosed by Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Vanterpool during the 24 January public consultation meeting that was held in Road Town. At that time the Minister explained that Government has done enough talking and is now ready to deal harshly with the service providers.
At that time the Minister explained that Government arrived at this point after exhausting communications with the internet service providers and noting that not much has changed. “We’ve been meeting with them again and in fact we are even looking at the possibility perhaps of opening up the services to those who can perhaps provide it even better. That’s something that we are discussing. We have met with them since Irma.”
This week in a Government interview Hon. Vanterpool gave an update on the matter and disclosed that other companies have since indicated a readiness to fill the service gap. “Since I have said that I have had at least two other internet providers contact me. I will be having meetings with them, but effectively we will be putting forward proposals from a policy standpoint for the government to look at that,” the Minister said.
As residents grow impatient with the level of internet service they receive the TRC has come under heavy blame for not doing much to help.
“The TRC regulates, but the Government has to put forward policies and look at the legislation. If we have to change the legislation to allow more competition we will if the present providers don’t step up to the plate,” Hon. Vanterpool said.
At this point it appears that the die has been cast against the providers as the Minister announced that time is up: “I am very disappointed about what has been happening with internet we have been talking for a long time now, for many years with the internet providers; and we were hoping that by now they could have been a lot further on in their investments to give us faster speeds and more reliable internet. Unfortunately that is not happening so we are discussing further with them, but I have also made it clear that if we have to open up the market to other internet providers we will do so,” Hon. Vanterpool pointed out.
The Minister further noted that the residents of the Territory deserve better internet and have been complaining for too long. “I am affected badly, every person in the country is affected; businesses that we have in the territory are affected very badly. Financial services business is heavily dependent on internet speeds and internet reliability and it is not happening so we want to take some steps. I think we have talked enough now so hopefully we can take some steps forward,” he added.