The four unitary licences issued to CCT, Flow, Digicel and BVI Cable TV by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in 2007 are due to expire over an 8-month period in 2022.
The licence renewal process is governed by section 24 of the Telecommunications Act 2006 and Article 3 of the Licence. In deciding whether to renew a licence, the Commission must decide whether the Licensee in question has complied with its various obligations under the Act, the Telecommunications Code, the Licence, and any Commission instructions, and on whether the Licensee has been in persistent breach of any of those obligations.
All operators seeking renewal must apply to the Commission no less than 12 months before their Licence expiration. Where an operator seeks renewal, once the Commission receives an Application Form, it will follow the steps outlined in Article 3.3 of the Licence. Specifically, it will:
- Issue a public notice within ten working days of receiving the application indicating, amongst other things, that an operator has applied for renewal of its Licence. Within this notice, the time within which a person can make comments or objections to the respective application will be specified.
- Evaluate the operator's compliance with, among other things, Licence obligations and the extent to which the licenced services were provided, and business conducted in accordance with BVI Laws. An evaluation report will be produced based on the Commission's findings and published within 90 working days of receipt of the application.
- Conduct a public hearing within ten working days of publishing the evaluation report to allow persons with a legitimate interest to comment on or object to the requested renewal. This will be limited to those persons who have filed comments or objections in response to the notice.
- Issue a decision within 120 working days of receiving the application. The Commission will notify the operator of its decision or if the decision will be delayed, in which case it will be issued no later than one year after receiving the application.
In addition to the foregoing, the Commission is presently revising the terms and conditions of the Licence, with a focus on the development of the industry and ensuring that the public's interest is protected. It will be assessing customer care and service, affordable pricing, faster speeds of internet and improved service. A public consultation will be conducted on the proposed revised terms once the internal processes are complete.
Note to Editors:
- The Commission is the statutory body responsible for regulating the telecommunications sector of the Virgin Islands, protecting the interests of users of telecommunications services, ensuring fair competition among operators of telecommunications networks and providers of telecommunications.
- References to the Unitary Licence/Licence refer to a Licence issued by the Commission, under the Act, for the operation of a telecommunications network providing telecommunications services in the British Virgin Islands.