I should be grateful if you [BU] would get in touch with Sir Roy and tell him that a strike by the members of the BWU will not cripple LIME operations in 2013. All Sir Roy will be doing is crippling the Barbados economy. LIME’s survival depends on people using cell phones. While the workers are on strike, their idle fingers will be sending text messages to friends and family. Tops-up will be the order of the day.
Pointless boasting that the Union successfully took strike action for 3 weeks against the Telephone Company 31 years ago. Those were the days when radio telephone operators connected people worldwide.Now every home in Barbados has a MagicJack [Skype] and while they are on strike, they will be giving their friends and family a blow by blow commentary on what is going on.
Those were the days when newspapers had to wait hours for Reuters and Associated Press stories. Today, MCTV, Direct TV and Satellite receivers mounted on top of news media houses provide them with data before Reuters or Associated Press can get it right. Remember the 9/11 attacks? FOX News and CNN brought the news into the homes of Barbadians. They didn’t have to wait till the following day like back in 1981 (Bartel strike) to get the news. Every day youngsters watch European football on MCTV or on satellite TV at bars all over Barbados. LIME doesn’t provide these services. Nobody is waiting for an operator to answer the phone at LIME to send a telegram to friends and family overseas, Sir Roy. MagicJack is there for that purpose.
There were two disturbing developments recently where the question may be raised about the consideration the Fair Trading Commission has for consumers. CARITEL, my private consultancy, is taking part in the Reference Interconnect Offer (see earlier posts for background). We were given one week to study various documents in detail, conduct additional research and prepare and send a follow-up submission to the FTC as it relates to new arguments.
We protested as we did in the first submission that this was inadequate and a month was requested. A RIO is a highly granular proceeding, requiring regional and international research as well as correspondence with contacts such as regulators elsewhere. The issues are quite wide and therefore require considerable time to investigate and respond to arguments, in this case made by Cable & Wireless. Cable & Wireless has an entire department and regional staff to deal with such matters.
Well, the FTC said you have another week in an email sent minutes before the close of business Friday, the deadline for the actual follow-up submission. I had written the Commission the Wednesday since time was needed to read the documents from Cable & Wireless (LIME), Digicel, TeleBarbados and Blue Communications and study the implications.
A Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) might not mean a whole lot to many people but it can have a significant impact on new services and the extent to which there is competition in communications.
LIME is at the centre of a RIO consultation and a series of documents on services such as overseas calling. Companies have to interconnect so that customers of one company may communicate with those of another, for example Digicel, TeleBarbados, LIME and Blue Communications, which is offering a competitive long distance card to make calls.
In addition, the new charges could also relate to new services, since they also involve interconnection and payments between these companies to terminate calls. Essentially, LIME is trying to get the best deal for itself while other parties want to ensure that the decisions taken by the Fair Trading Commission do not disadvantage them financially and their ability to compete and offer better rates where possible.
The BU family has posted several complaints in recent days to indicate that there has been a drop in broadband service being delivered by Cable & Wireless aka LIME, and that it has left a sour taste in their mouths. Many Barbadians seem clueless as to what their options are in the circumstances. BU family member Chris Halsall has been like a stuck record in his repeat that Barbadians who are dissatisfied with LIME’s service need to check out the competition. It seems however that one BU family memberhas achieved some level of success.
Early in the New Year BU proposes to instigate a Boycott LIME Day. At that time we will encourage LIME subscribers in Barbados to protest to LIME in a tangible way i.e. non-payment of bills for one month, transfer of service where practicable to the competition, send emails and telephone calls to Customer Care/Contact Centres, write to the Public Counsel/Fair Trading Department etc.
In light of the above it was with interest we read a Press Release issued by TeleBarbados today:
…today announced that TeleBarbados, a dominant communication services provider on the island, has deployed the ARRIS WiDOX 700 MHz broadband access solution at multiple locations to deliver high-speed data service to its customers throughout the island… Continue reading →