Communications on the British Virgin Islands

Communications on the British Virgin Islands

Telephones - main lines in use:9,000 (1994)

Telephones - mobile cellular:NA

Telephone system:worldwide telephone service
"international:"submarine cable to Bermuda

Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:9,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:1 (ZBTV), (plus one cable company) (1997)

Televisions:4,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (1999)

:"See also :" British Virgin Islands

Deregulation of the telephone market

In 2006, the British Virgin Islands government undertook a deregulation of the telephone industry. [Telecommunications Act (No 10 of 2006)] Prior to 2006, in common with many other Caribbean countries, Cable & Wireless (Caribbean) had a statutory monopoly [Under the Cable and Wireless (West Indies) Limited Telephones Act, 1975 (Cap 168)] on telephone and other electronic communications services. However, in the 1990s, a local company called CCT Boatphone, which had previously provided radio boatphones to tourists on charter boats, expanded into cellular (mobile) telecommunications for land-based users. Although technically in breach of the statutory monopoly, CCT Boatphone was backed by a powerful collection of local interests known as the BVI Investment Club. Negotiations between Cable & Wireless and CCT Boatphone led to a split of the monopolies, with Cable & Wireless retaining a monopoly over fixed line and internet services, and CCT Boatphone keeping a "de facto" monopoly over cellular telephones.

In 2007 the Government abolished the previously existing monopolies under an order made pursuant to the new legislation. The process proved politically fraught, and the Government's Minister for Communications and Works, Alvin Christopher, ended up leaving the Government and joining the opposition party as a result of the furore. The process was also criticised as cumbersome and slow, the initial deregulation having been announced in 2004, and taking no less than three years to come to fruition through delays in legislation and regulation.

Although there have been no new entrants into the fixed line industry, the government issued three licenses under the new regime to cellular telephone service providers. The existing provider, CCT Boatphone, obtained one license. "B"mobile, the cellular arm of Cable & Wireless, obtained a second. The third license was obtained by BVI Cable TV, a local cable television service. The license in favour of BVI Cable was controversial, as the Regulator had announced in advance that only three licenses in total would be issued, and BVI Cable TV had crumbling cable television infrastructure, and was in no position to office cellular telephone services (and to date, has not offered any cellular telephone services, or anything other than simple cable television). However, "b"mobile's main regional competitor, Digicel, was rejected for a license. The decision was regarded as highly controversial in the local media. [ [ BVI Platinum news, 23 May 2007] and [ BVI Platinum news, 4 June 2007] ]

Digicel then issued court proceedings against the Regulator, arguing that he had acted improperly by imposing an arbitrary limit of three licenses (although interestingly no complaint was made about the decision to prefer BVI Cable TV's improbable license over Digicel). "B"mobile was joined to the suit as an interested party. High Court Judge Rita Joseph-Olivetti found in favour of Digicel and quashed the original decision. [ [ BVI Platinum News, 25 May 2007] ] Digicel commenced separate proceedings against Cable and Wireless (as "b"mobile's parent company) in the English courts, claiming that Cable & Wireless has unfairly stifled competition in several Caribbean jurisdictions. [ [ BBC World news, 19 July 2007] ] During the intervening period, "b"mobile has obtained a virtual stranglehold on the cellular telecommunications market in the British Virgin Islands by a combination of low prices and aggressive advertising, as well as significant investment in infrastructure and technology. [ [ BVI Platinum news, 8 June 2007] and [ BVI Platinum news, 25 June 2007] ]

7] Digicel was finally granted a licence on 17 December 2007 and plans to start operations in the BVI sometime in 2008.


[ [ Caribbean Net News: British Virgin Islands ] ] and [ [ Jamaica Gleaner News - Digicel to take on two new markets - Investing US$15m in BVI roll-out, bids US$80m for Honduras licence - Friday | December 21, 2007 ] ]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Outline of the British Virgin Islands — …   Wikipedia

  • Telecommunications in the British Virgin Islands — Telephones main lines in use: 11,700 (2002) Telephones mobile cellular: 8,000 (2002) Telephone system: worldwide telephone service general assessment: worldwide telephone service domestic: NA international: country code 1 284; connected via… …   Wikipedia

  • British Virgin Islands — Infobox Country conventional long name = British Virgin Islands common name = British Virgin Islands |125px |100px national motto = Vigilate spaces|2(Latin) Be Watchful national anthem = God Save the Queen official languages = English ethnic… …   Wikipedia

  • British Virgin Islands general election, 2007 — The British Virgin Islands general election, 2007 was held in the British Virgin Islands on 20 August 2007. The result was a landslide victory for the opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) over the incumbent National Democratic Party (NDP).The… …   Wikipedia

  • British Virgin Islands — a British colony comprising several small islands (largest, Tortola) in the West Indies, E of Puerto Rico. 10,500; 67 sq. mi. (174 sq. km). Cap.: Road Town. * * * British Virgin Islands Introduction British Virgin Islands Background: First… …   Universalium

  • British Virgin Islands — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::British Virgin Islands <p></p> Background: <p></p> First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then… …   The World Factbook

  • National Democratic Party (British Virgin Islands) — The National Democratic Party (or NDP) is a political party in the British Virgin Islands. In the 2007 general election the incumbent NDP was crushed by the Virgin Islands Party and lost all except for 2 of its seats. The party most recently held …   Wikipedia

  • List of British Virgin Islands-related topics — This is a list of topics related to British Virgin Islands. Those interested in the subject can monitor changes to the pages by clicking on Related changes in the sidebar.British Virgin Islands* British Virgin Islands * British Virgin Islands Bar …   Wikipedia

  • Virgin Islands — a group of islands in the West Indies, E of Puerto Rico: comprises the Virgin Islands of the United States and the British Virgin Islands. Abbr.: V.I., VI * * * Virgin Islands Introduction Virgin Islands Background: During the 17th century, the… …   Universalium

  • Communications in the Isle of Man — The Isle of Man benefits from an extremely modern and extensive communications infrastructure, which underpins the main sectors of the Island s economy. Contents 1 Telecommunications 1.1 Telegraph 1.2 Telephones 1.2.1 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.