CTU 6th Policy Seminar  ,  Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago   -   6-8 juni 2001

DELEGATIE:

De delegatie bestond uit vertegenwoordigers van het Ministerie van Transport, Communicatie en Toerisme m.n. Mw. Drs. L. Smith, Onderdirecteur Communicatie en Toerisme, en Mw. Mr. J. Saman (beleidsmedewerkster) Er is slechts 2 dagen geparticipeerd nl. op 6 en 7 juni onderhavige meeting vanwege het feit dat de terugreis naar Suriname op 8 juni was.

INLEIDING

Het seminar dat georganiseerd was door de Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in samenwerking met de International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had als thema " Forging the way in the changing Caribbean Telecommunication Environment". Dit seminar had tot doel de stakeholders in de telecommunicatiesector: t.w. de Overheid, de operators en de regulators, toe te rusten met vaardigheden in het formuleren van het telecommunicatiebeleid en de implementatie daarvan in een zich liberaliserende telecommunicatiesector.

DOELGROEPEN:

In dit seminar hebben o.a. geparticipeerd leden van de CTU, vertegenwoordigers van organisaties zoals de ITU, de Caricom, de CTO (Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation), de OECS (Organization of East Caribbean States), de CANTO (Caribbean Association of Nation Telecom Organizations), de University of the West Indies (UWI) en telecom operators w.o Cable & Wireless.

 

VASTGESTELDE AGENDA:

Dag 1 ( 6 juni 2001): The Role of Government in the Environment of Liberalization

Registration

Opening Ceremony

Organisation of the work of the seminar

REGULATION :

Overview of developments in the Regional Telecommunication Sector (Philip Paulwell)

The role of Government in the Liberalization of Telecommunication Sector (CTO)

Financial Aspects of Regulation (Dr. John Prince, ITU)

Trade in Telecommunication Services (Caricom)

Offers before WTO (Lee Tuthill)

Commentary/Discussion

Commercial Presentation

Lunch

Regulatory Frameworks in a liberalised Telecommunication Service Market:

USA, Canada, European Union, ITU,

- Break

Commercial Presentation

 

Dag 2 (7 juni 2001): Regulation in a Liberalized Environment

 

Legal Aspects of Telecommunications Regulation:

Trinidad & Tobago, FCC, Canada, OECS,

- Break

Promotion of Competition:

OECS, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Antigua en Barbuda

Commercial Presentation

Lunch

Introduction of competition:

Citel, Cable & Wireless, Marpin Telecoms & Broadcasting, Suriname

Break

Interconnection: Arrangements, Concerns and Regulation:

ITU, Haiti, FCC, Nortel, Jamaica

 

Dag 3 (8 juni 2001): Service Regulation

 

Spectrum Utilization:

Canada, Jamaica, IMT 200, Bahamas, OECS

Break

Training:

Worldspace, UWI, ITU, Ram Jakhu

Lunch

Universal Access/Service

Barbados, Motorola, Belize, Alcatel, Canto

Break

Regionalization of Services and cooperation in Telecommunications

GMDSS, CDERA, UWI, CBU

Closing Ceremony

 

OPENING

Bij de openinsceremonie werd het woord gevoerd door de Secretaris Generaal van de CTU, de heer Justinian Coipel, de vertegenwoordiger van de ITU Regional Office, de heer Philip Cross, de Minister van Communicatie van Jamaica tevens President van de CTU, de heer Philip Paulwell, de Minister van Communicatie en Informatie Technologie van Trinidad & Tobago, de heer Ralph Maharaj, en de Caricom vertegenwoordiger, de heer Linus Spencer.

De heer Philip Paulwell, Minister van Communicatie van Jamaica gaf in zijn presentatie " Overview of developments in the Regional Telecommunications Sector (developments in the regional telecommunications sector)" enerzijds aan de ontwikkelingen in de telecommunicatiesector van Jamaica en anderzijds die van de regio. Jamaica beschikt thans over een nieuwe telecommunicatie wet. Competitie is gestart op gefaseerde basis. In het jaar 2003 zal er sprake zijn van volledige liberalisatie. Er zijn twee cellulair vergunningen verstrekt. Eén van deze operators is reeds speler op de markt. De eerste fase van liberalisatie is bijna afgerond en er is open competitie gepland voor domestic voice telephony.

M.b.t ontwikkelingen in de telecommunicatiesector in de regio gaf hij aan dat er overeenkomsten voor favourable partnership zijn getekend tussen lidstaten van de OECS en hun incumbent service provider. De OECS zal een autoriteit installeren om de sector te reguleren. Deze autoriteit zal zich bezighouden met interconnectie vraagstukken, het verstrekken van vergunningen en in het algemeen het faciliteren van het interconnectie netwerk. Vijf OECS staten hebben een lening aangevraagd bij de Wereldbank voor het introduceren van een nieuw legislative network, om de regionale regulator autoriteit op te zetten en om effektief het electromagnetisch spectrum te managen. Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia en St. Vincent and the Grenadines hebben een overeenkomst getekend voor het vestigen van de Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) als de regionale regulator die brede verantwoordelijkheid heeft om een competitive environment te creëren voor de telecommunicatie.

De tweede presentatie "The role of the Government in the Liberalization of the Telecommunication sector" werd gehouden door de heer Dr. David Souter van de CTO.

Hij gaf aan dat de rol van de Overheid tot uiting komt bij:

  • ICT revolutie;

  • het herstructureren van de telecommunicatiesector:

  1. privatisering

  2. liberalisering

  3. regulering

De key governance relationships zijn:

  • tussen overheid en regulator;

  • tussen overheid en operator;

  • tussen overheid en consument.

Liberalisatie is een proces van vestiging van een concurrerende markt buiten de

 

BIJDRAGE SURINAME:

Suriname is nog geen lid van de CTU en is door deze organisatie gevraagd op deze meeting haar ervaringen met betrekking tot de introductie van concurrentie in de telecommunicatiesector te delen met de participanten. Tijdens de sessie die als onderwerp had "Introduction of Competition" hield Mw. Drs. L. Smith een speech, welke als bijlage aan dit verslag wordt vastgehecht. Na de speech werden enkele vragen gesteld door de participanten o.a over de telecenters, de privatisering van Telesur, de interconnectie overeenkomst.

 

OPMERKINGEN:

- Op de tweede dag van het seminar bleek dat het aantal participanten was afgenomen;

Wij beschikken over een copie van enkele presentaties, gehouden op 6 en 7 juni 2001;

De CTU heeft beloofd de overige documenten en de joint statement van onderhavige meeting op te sturen.

 

AANBEVELING:

Suriname dient het lidmaatschap van de CTU goed te overwegen met name door na te gaan welke voordelen het lidmaatschp van de CTU met zich meebrengt.

 

Mw. Drs. Lygia Smith

Mw. Mr. Jo-Ann Saman

 

Paramaribo, juli 2001


Rede Surinaamse delegatie

 

Distinguished Secretary General of the CTU- Mr. Justinian Coipel,

Delegates from CTU member states,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I address you here today on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Tourism, Guno Castelen. Minister Castelen could not be present today due to other obligations, but he sends you his highest regards and wishes us a constructive and fruitful seminar.

Suriname is very pleased  to be present at this 6th Policy Seminar of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. The policy of the current Government is to intensify the participation within regional bodies. Suriname has been asked to share with you our experience with regard to introducing competition in the telecommunications sector, moving from a monopoly environment towards a more liberalized one.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, we in the Caribbean are in the process of establishing a Single Market and Economy, and  it is imperative that telecommunications is a significant catalyst for reaching this goal which must not be seen as an ultimate goal but as an intermediate one, as a means to enlarge economic activity resulting in wealth and welfare for our people.

Before 1998 the telecommunication services were provided by Telesur, being the sole operator. Telesur is an autonomous corporation owned by the Government but not subsidized. Because of our commitments towards the WTO, Suriname agreed to liberalize the sector. This policy resulted in 1998 in permitting a second operator, “International Communications and Management Services (ICMS)”: this company was granted an overall concession to provide public services.

Our current telecommunications act is based on a law of 1945, the Telephone and Telegraph act, which was a legacy from Suriname being a former Dutch colony.

The Government has begun the process of restructuring the telecommunications sector. This, by recognizing the importance of telecommunication as a driver for economic development and for establishing a closer integration with the regional and global economy.

Liberalization is not a goal, but must be seen as a means, a vehicle, a tool, to improve quality services in an effective, efficient, accountable and affordable way through increased competition. This tool is  not effective if the environment is not proper. By this we refer to good legislation, good regulation and rules, all this together with a proper working Regulator, functioning as a referee on a level playing field for all the players.

At the introduction of our second operator  in 1998, these conditions were not in place. Another problem in introducing another player was that Telesur as the incumbent had both public and private tasks. This situation did not result in the level playing field that was necessary for fair competition. In order to establish a fair and competitive environment it is imperative to update the current act. In our endeavor to create the right competitive environment we have drafted a new telecommunications act that will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval.

The general obligation for operators is to provide the public with telecom services in all geographical areas as is the case in Suriname both coastal and interior.

The effect of unprepared liberalization is that the cooperation between the two operators is still there. There is not a proper interconnection agreement. The result is a deadlock between both operators. In order for things to be correct the new act should be in place so that the rules for fair competition can be clear. Not even intervention of the Regulator or the Ministry has resulted in a solution that both parties can agree upon. It was brought before a magistrate, who then installed a commission of experts to settle the dispute. This has been an example of how you can get into problems when the legal framework is not in place to keep up with the rapid developments that take place in the telecommunications sector.

The Ministry is working towards a solution in these disputes. Telesur is still the regulator. The new telecommunications act will provide in an independent authority to regulate the sector according to the new law. The Minister of Telecommunications installed regulatory authority and its main purpose is to advise the Minister on telecommunications matters. By passing the new Telecommunications Act, an independent regulator will be put in place. This has been an example of how you can get into problems if the legal framework is not in place to keep up with the rapid developments that take place in the telecommunications sector. Experience has taught us, that liberalization does not lead to alls solutions for the problems that the Government faces. Liberalization can be a good tool but only if the proper legislation is in place, if we have a sound Government policy and last but not least a good functioning Regulator.

In the current market oriented environment, with the existing discrepancy between national and international tariffs, between income generated out of mobile and fixed systems, through the introduction of a phased liberalization we must guarantee that the public tasks are safeguarded. The Government is, due to her Global Obligation to provide connection for all people, obliged to provide this service. Even if we privatize the government owned operator in order to facilitate an even level playing competition field between operators, the danger is there that the operators won’t feel obliged to provide public services in those areas where the profit is not high.

 Being small scaled economies with concentration of population in certain parts while other parts have low density population we must ensure that we safeguard equal distribution of wealth and opportunities for social and economic development in an information area.

 We as Governments should also consider these aspects while outlining our policy and the control on this policy, so we can reach our ultimate goal to provide services in an effective, efficient, accountable and affordable way for all. Telecommunications is not a matter for the few privileged, but is a right for all.