The Virgin Islands’ public is being given the opportunity by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to weigh in on whether telecommunications giant Digicel’s license to operate in the BVI should be renewed.
The TRC said in a recent notice that a public hearing will be held for Digicel’s application renewal next Friday, May 6.
“Digicel was granted a Licence by the Commission on December 17, 2007, for a period of 15 years, which expires on 16 December 2022, and Digicel is seeking renewal of this Licence. As a part of the renewal procedure specified in Article 3.3(c) of Digicel’s Licence, the Commission shall call a public hearing during which the Licensee and third parties with a legitimate interest that have duly filed comments or objections that the Commission deems to be relevant, shall have a right to be heard,” the notice read.
The TRC highlighted that the hearing will be held at The Moorings Conference Room at Wickham’s Cay II at 9 am and participation in the hearing will be limited to Digicel representatives and any interested third party that had submitted a relevant comment or objection on Digicel’s license renewal application to the Commission before February 24, 2022.
In a previous statement, the TRC had noted that the needs of consumers since 2007 have changed and the type of services being provided by telecommunications groups should be befitting of the current circumstances.
According to TRC, the most critical services are now broadband internet access services.
“The incidences of extreme weather events have increased – a trend, which is expected to continue and, as such, network resilience and the ability to recover from damage caused by those events is expected to be paramount. In an increasingly connected and inter-connected world, the need for protection of privacy, data protection, and cyber security has also grown in importance,” the TRC stated.
With the hearings now going ahead, COVID
-19 protocols will be in effect and the TRC informs the public that the spaces will be limited.
Furthermore, the Commission noted, “participants are required to pre-register their attendance by contacting the Commission at (284) 229-4165 or emailing email@example.com”.
The interested third party attendees must also specify relevant details. If it is a corporate body, it should include the name of the organisation; the name of a principal contact person; and full contact details to include physical address, postal address, telephone number, fax number and email address.
Individual persons should include their name and contact details including an email address.
The TRC is currently in the process of reviewing telecoms providers’ licenses in the territory, typically valid for 15-years. The existing Unitary Licences that are now up for renewal were first issued in 2007 when the telecoms sector in the Virgin Islands
was moving from a monopoly environment to a more diverse and competitive market.