My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014

“We have established a six-month time frame for a report which will indicate the legislative and regulatory changes necessary to have a single ICT regulator”

Minister of State, Julian Robinson addressing the opening ceremony for the 30th AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the CANTO (Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organization) in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday January 26 2014

Looks like eighteen (18) lucky individuals will have the chance to earn the dubious distinction of becoming a Consultant to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining as it relates to the idea of establishing a single Telecom Regulator as noted in “Gov't to consider single regulator for ICT”, published January 28, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The AGM CANTO started on Saturday January 25th 2014 and lasted for about four (4) days. The theme for this shindig which was “Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Broadband Development” was anything but about the topic of conversation.

He going to be very well paid apparently; the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has even swinging for some funding, (most likely a loan!) from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) to pay for his expertise!

According to this announcement, it’s slated for launch sometime in July 2014, with the Consultant being hired long before. This implies that he may already be chosen and will commence working by the start of February 2014. Clearly no love is lost on Valentine’s Day, I suppose!

The coming of the long vaulted Telecom Regulator has been long indeed. In fact going back as far as 2011 when then Prime Minister Bruce Golding, then leader of the JLP (Jamaica Labour) declared the need for one such as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator”.

Currently the ICT Sector is shepherded rather inefficiently by the following trio of actors:

1.      SMA (Spectrum Management Authority)
2.      BCJ (Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica)
3.      OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation)

Most likely the Consultant that they'll hire will merely recommend taking the functional parts of the three and cobble them together hosted in a building somewhere in New Kingston. Already many of the elements necessary to satisfy the FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) Telecom Providers will be in place by May 2014.

This in a bid to prevent another embarrassing snub by the International Community of their 700MHz Spectrum offer as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's 700MHz Spectrum Auction fails to attract bidders on Friday October 11 2013 - Jamaicans Lack interest in Broadband Internet and no Telecom Regulator for the Sector”.

Already, signs are inkling to indicate that no-one is interested in the alternative Spectrum for AWS (Advance Wireless Services) and WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for microwave Access) as indicated in my blog article entitled “GOJ and MSTEM auctioning WiMaX and AWS Spectrum by Monday December 5th 2013 - AWS for Point-to-point, Point-to-Multipoint Networks and Residential WiMaX for Economic Prosperity”.

These blocks of fallow unused Spectrum are as follows:

1.      66 MHz in the 1800 MHz Band
2.      92 MHz in the 1900 MHz Band
3.      130 MHz in the 2.5/2.6 GHz Band
4.      50 MHz in the 1700/2100 MHz Band 

First there’s the coming of additional Area Code for Jamaica to facilitate Telecom and Dialup Services if a New Telecom Provider is to come into the island as stated in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Game Catching Fire of Mobile Computing”. No timeline has been mentioned in the Media when this will be.

The coming of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) by May 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled OUR sets Cross-Network Rates at JA$1.10 as of Monday July 1 2013 - Everything is Possible as we’re Zombies for Data World War Z  will also satisfy any New Telecom Provider seeking to come to Jamaica and compete. 

Now all that’s need is for Jamaicans to really have an interest in Wireless Broadband Internet. This development is worth tracking and I’ll keep following it as much as I can as it’ll be interesting to see if this Consultant will be another politically connected appointee or a foreigner paid with IDB Money.
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