The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) wishes to announce that negotiations with Cable & Wireless with respect to the proposed merger between Cable & Wireless and Columbus Communications International have ended without the parties reaching an amicable agreement.

From the announcement of the merger in November 2014, ECTEL and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) have been working assiduously to reach an agreement with Cable & Wireless, as existing legislation does not give ECTEL sufficient legal standing to stop or impose remedies on companies partaking in mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications sector.

The agreement sought to address issues, such as, but not limited to, the minimum speed and price for entry level Broadband packages, maintaining an open internet, sharing of telecommunications infrastructure for existing and new entrants to provide new services, and protection provisions to ensure customers are not disadvantaged by new services and pricing to be implemented following the merger.

In the absence of an agreement, ECTEL will continue to fulfill its mandate as set out in the Treaty establishing (ECTEL), namely to promote open entry, market liberalisation and competition in telecommunications sector of the Contracting States.

 

The Telecommunications Act will guide ECTEL and the NTRCs as they seek to maintain a fair and liberalised market environment. ECTEL is also working to secure the passage of the draft Electronic Communications Bill which was consulted upon from October to December 2015, and which will further assist with managing any adverse effects on consumers and other stakeholders by giving ECTEL additional powers and tools with which to regulate.

ECTEL is also currently conducting a public consultation on a suite of new regulations including regulations of access to network infrastructure, retail pricing and consumer protection, which are intended, in conjunction with the proposed Electronic Communications Bill, to further strengthen the regulatory environment, promote fair competition, and safeguard consumer rights.

As we seek to maintain a competitive environment in all ECTEL Member States, the public is hereby requested to report to the NTRC in their respective jurisdictions, any actions in the telecommunications market that infringe their rights as consumers, or degrade their existing service.

MANAGING DIRECTOR

9th March 2016

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