Regulator visits counterpart in Puerto Rico

952

PUERTO RICO – Director of Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) Anthony Carty together with support staff, paid a working visit to Puerto Rico to meet with the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico (TRB), to discuss a wide variety of telecom and regulatory matters in the region.

In-depth discussions took place on (fiber) infrastructure, the regulation of Over-The-Top Content (OTT) and Net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

It remains a hot topic in the Telecom Sector, and while the EU and USA ruled in favor of an open Internet without any data discrimination, several service providers in the Caribbean Region are contesting the basic principles of this model. They often feel the need to block or throttle content that is either consuming a lot of bandwidth, or can form a potential threat for their own revenue models. One can think of applications such as Viber, Skype, WhatsApp Voice and Netflix that are allowing end users to make phone calls and watch a variety of TV content over the Internet for next to nothing.

As operators are fighting for fair competition and sustainable business models, regulators and governments are trying to safeguard that the rights of the citizens of their nations – to access information on an open Internet – are not being trampled on. BTP recognizes the urgent need to take a formal position as it relates to this subject, and advise the Minister and other stakeholders accordingly.

The Directors of both regulatory bodies mutually agreed that they will continue to work together in the future. Carty stated: “for the further enhancement of telecom services, strategic alliances in the region are vital. Our team remains committed in leveraging our networks, and finding sound solutions for national, regional and global issues in our sector.”