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Improve internet, or else! Vanterpool warns telecoms providers

Mark Vanterpool

By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist

Communications Minister Mark Vanterpool is threatening to invite outside Internet providers to do business in the territory if the telecommunications companies in the local market do not improve their service.

“We are going to give them an ultimatum and if they don’t [comply], we will look at reviewing the regulations to allow other providers to come and do it,” Vanterpool told BVI News yesterday.

The minister declined to give specifics when asked to divulge details of the ultimatum.

Vanterpool, however, said he and other residents have run out of patience.

“I have been in the Ministry for six years now and I’ve been begging them to provide better services. They haven’t come up to the mark yet so we going to have to do something very urgently about it,” he said.

Embarrassing

Vanterpool made the statement while pointing to the UK-sanctioned report labelling the BVI as having one of the worst and most expensive internet services on the planet.

The minister said government is humilated by the report.

“We were rated recently as almost last in the world in terms of internet. We are very embarrassed about that,” said Vanterpool while announcing that he will be meeting with the locally-based internet providers soon.

The main providers are Flow, Digicel, and CCT. Vanterpool said BVI Cable TV is also licenced to provide internet services to te territory.

“We have a telecommunications regulation that allows for four providers. If the four providers don’t do the job, we would have to look and revise our telecommunications regulations and allow others to come in and provide it,” Vaterpool further explained.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

53 Comments

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  1. ..... says:

    What the sector needs is enforcement.

    • ??? says:

      Enforce what exactly? Can you enforce speed?

      • Pffff says:

        Yes you can…

      • Kamal says:

        Yes you can. I was actually in the process of conducting and documenting speed tests at specific times during the day to use as a speed comparison prior to the storm. Here I was paying for 12MBs and getting 0.01 or 0.06, or on a ‘lucky’ day would get ‘0.80’…..FROM 12MBs!!!! Customer service is just filled with polite operators filled with sunshine, and no results. As part of the documentation I jumped through every loop that was asked to do, which ultimately led to ‘line faults’ needing to be logged and the people would show up two months – sometimes three months – after….’I am here from ‘LOW’ to fix a fault’, and report for duty with such pride. Even when I left the company, they still coming to fix the fault. I think I’ll start that back again, as an experiment, my pet project, and if the outcome is good….teach everybody to attack.

  2. .. says:

    When they reach.. SIGN ME UP!

  3. Brains says:

    Thumbs ups to Hon. Mark for this gesture. I hope he will follow up on this aggresively and not just be all talk and no Action. Since he is the “Action Man” he gotta live up to his name. We’ll see how this one goes. We’re all watching with Hawk Eyes!!

    • long time here says:

      He will NOT follow up. He never does, nor do the other ministers unless it is a pet project. Who followed up with the threat that if the ferry on the rocks in town were not gone…… Who followed up with the boats on the beach at Trellis…. If not gone we will take care of it…. Read the notice on the boats. It gives them a year!!!!!!! Follow up? They do not know the meaning.

    • Seriously?? says:

      Mr. Minister, if you begging for 6 years now and we still in the same position then its high time you go sit down and let someone else do the job. Elections just around the corner so you only now find time to shout and put out ultimatums? You must be BLIND because it is not just the telecoms that is a mess. Your whole ministry is a mess. Look at our roads (embarrassing) worst in the region. Look at Electricity (embarrassing) look at our sewage (major embarrassment). So please, we are not fooled by ranting.

      It took a report from the UK to embarrass you? Please.

      The pen will talk come elections.

  4. Sam the man says:

    Work with the providers don’t lay into them because the Government has just suddenly woken up to the fact that the service provided isn’t great….it’s expensive to provide a quality service for a small island with low population – you need to be far more proactive with your approach its easy to just criticize…

    • Guest says:

      Whether or not it is expensive to provide a quality service what about the people getting what they pay for? Lets accept that the service is over priced and the price is passed on because it is expensive to provide, great. Then lets address why customers pay for 6 mbps + for over $170 – $250 and only getting .3 or .8. You need to be far more truthful about what is going on.

      • Jah Know says:

        I agree 100%, they bawling it’s too expensive but they rather the community bawling about their expensive service that has little to no quality. If we’re getting very poor quality we shouldn’t be paying top quality prices.

  5. Albion says:

    Why wait? Competition always improves service and drives down prices. Let’s do this now. The existing providers are not getting the job done – doing the same old thing but hoping things will suddenly get better is what Einstein called the definition of insanity.

  6. Online Now says:

    There’s the problem, you have been begging them. Why not use proper channels instead. Regulations and the regulatory commission. That is why we can’t move forward because nothing is formally documented and regulations/laws properly applied.

  7. WHAT.. says:

    @ Online Now………..Exactly, By his own admission begging…. You are in power do what needs to be done NOW. Lip service time has long passed.

  8. PURE TALK says:

    Mark go sit down, PURE TALK!

    If you were serious I would have recommended Comcast!

    Why is it FLow and Digicel providing good service to the other Caribbean Islands except us ? Hmmm

    • Observation says:

      This is what happens when government members have shares in a company that has to compete with the aforementioned companies. The playing field can never truly be leveled because one can not compete with the others and progress is being hindered.

  9. Subtext says:

    Give me a piece of the pie or I’ll shut the whole operation down.

    The internet service in the Virgin Island is crap. I’m glad the minister is trying to do something about it but talk is cheap. We all know he’ll shut up eventually and buy a new car.

  10. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    “We are very embarrassed about that, said Vanterpool while announcing that he will be meeting with the locally-based internet providers soon.” Really! If government is truly ashamed (and it should be) of having been rated by a UK report labeling the VI of having the poorest quality and most expensive internet service in the world, what is the hold up? What is the MCW waiting for, having been MCW for 6 long and frustrating years, Xmas? If the MCW were a private company, he would have been fired eons ago, would he not?

    Is the MCW also ashamed of the deteriorated condition of the roads, should he not? Is he putting an ultimatum on the MCW, PWD to improve the design, construction, and maintenance of the roads? I do not want to hear anything about Hurricane Irma being the cause of the road deterioration; the roads were in a deteriorated condition before Irmaria. Using Irmaria is an excuse and a distraction. $16M were wasted on so call road repair. Paving is only a small portion of proper road maintenance and repair. The Premier needs to put an ultimatum on MCW on fixing the roads properly. However, we may quicker see green mules flying.

    Further, is the MCW also embarrassed with the cost over runs at the Tortola Pier Park? What is the staggering cost over runs again? $30M+? What about the poor quality and unreliable water supply? What about the poor electricity quality, brown and black outs? What about the lack of and inadequate sewage treatment? Oh boy, what about PWD poor service? Outsource it and relieve it from its misery, no mon!

    Ok. This West Minister system is not working for us. People get elected by popularity, best of the lot………etc with little to no knowledge of functions yet they are appointed as experts to manage those functions. It is nuts and not fair to the ministers and more so to the people. The people/taxpayers are getting shafted with all the waste and inefficiencies. Perhaps, the HOA needs to set policies and a professional core staff is employed to execute/administer the policies.

    Let’s not get things twisted. Though my rant was on MCW, other ministries should not rest easy and thump their chests. The whole thing is a mess riddled with waste and inefficiencies. They are all underperforming. Who is on deck? The Opposition. They seem ill-prepared at this point. Government wasteful and inefficient and Opposition ill-prepared. What a Hobson’s choice.

    Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.

    • Velour Track Pants says:

      @ Eagle and Buffalo – could not have said it better myself! Pure lip service because elections are around the corner. He should have been replaced or fired long ago. By his own admission he is an abject failure.

    • RealPol says:

      @E&B, real talk. Good ting tark is cheap (sometimes) or else some of us would be bruk. Good ting free speech is part of democracy, provided there is no libel or slander. Hot air rises. The Premier needs to shake tings by reshuffling ministers, sacking some and adding others. For starters, Ronnie needs to be MCW; Doc is not going to give up the MoF, after harangue to give it to Ronnie. Ronnie is the only engineer among the heap and PWD, utilities, and telecommunications solely needs an engineer.

      Further, your suggestion of making the HOA the policy making body (which it currently is) and letting the day-to-day operations go to a experienced, knowledgeable professional staffs to administer policy sound skills like a Council-Manager form of government. Typically, the City Council (elected officials) sets policies and City Manager (serving as CEO) administers policies. Our elected HOA members will become part time members. Will this happen? No.

      As others often quote: power cedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will———Frederick Douglass. For change to occur, the people have to demand change. Politicians have a vested interested in maintaining the status quo. Frederick Douglass also states If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Improve internet services——-still on hold.

    • Not2Sure says:

      Let’s not forget the TRC. The MCW is speaking out here, but where is the TRC whose job – whose ONLY job – is to protect the public interest.

    • Quiet Storm says:

      What is Hobson’s choice?

  11. Eagle eye says:

    To much begging while they milking our pockets.bring in companies from next week

  12. Well Sah says:

    Or else what? Not a thing will happen!!!!

  13. - - - - - - - says:

    Telecom Companies probably thinking:

    Telecom1: “Yawn…..you just hear something?”

    Telecom2: “Nah, but I felt a bit of hot air a minute ago”

    Telecom1: “Does this mean we can keep selling the imbeciles 1 mbps garbage speed which once they get home they only get .2 to .7 mbps but pay through their teeth?”

    Telecom2: “Well most of the politicians and big shots use satellite internet and tv providers to avoid us altogether while their people suffer so this is quite a funny situation. Election must be round the corner so they trying to put on a show, just relax and this story will die down. You know the usual election time/promise time stories of this country”

    Telecom1: “Imagine our service is s### and we are offering unlimited amounts of s### smdh…and people pay…LOL”

    Telecom1: “Just have the people come in do the speed tests in office and show them they get the 1 mbps there, they are not smart enough to tell us we don’t need it to work in your office only we need it to work in our house…LOL”

  14. Amen says:

    minister I thank you in advance. In sick of it. One of them charging me $179 a month and when I’m home after work I can’t even get on to the internet- only works during the day she. Everyone
    is at work. My provider will get what is coming to them. Theives!

  15. By says:

    “Competition always improves service and drives down prices,” so saith one.

    However, with much exception to that and how it suppose to work business reality, in the BVI, here, service is mostly inferior and prices/cost are excessive,overpriced and ridiculously unsustainable in the long term.

    Hurricanes Irmaria have brought some stark realities to some minds, but to the majority, it is still”take as much as you can get,” business as usual.

    Mankind mental state at its worst.

  16. haha says:

    That TRC been soooo effective

  17. Youngin says:

    Chuuupes! Another scam to get the public back on NDP side. I bet nothing will change. How many times he going complain about the same thing over and over, another 6 years? Nothing still aint going get done.

  18. Guest says:

    People you can get internet service through Dish and DirectTV for as little as $49 to $79 a month. If you doubt that ask a few of your politicians… Leave these politicians and their election time shows and these good for nothing companies. First and foremost go online and do a speed test and see what your download speed is. See what it is you are paying for. If your contract is for 5 mbps and you getting .2 and .8 mbps that is why your Netflix, Youtube and other streaming devices keep buffering and sticking. It does not matter if your service is unlimited if the speed sucks. Sites that allow you to do speed tests are: http://www.speedtest.net, bandwidthplace.com. If you use http://www.speedtest.net change the ping server to somewhere in the US or Uk rather than right next door (St. Croix, St. Thomas, Barbados) which because of proximity provides a false result, unless you only surf webpages from those countries which I know you don’t.

  19. Ultimatum says:

    Here’s a real ultimatum. Get prices down to $1/Mbps/month or we cancel the landing rights for the cables that carry traffic from North to South America. They can relocate the cables as they don’t seem to be of any benefit to the BVI.

  20. Regulate says:

    This is what happens when a country has a regulator who doesn’t want to rock the boat and send out fines for not confor ming to the set standards. Get a TRC CEO that’s not just warming a chair and traveling

  21. Tallfat says:

    Six long years driving these uneven, pothole filled roads. Who is in charge again? Six long years of little to sometimes days without water. Who in charge again? Six long years of paying for Internet service that is slow at best but top money. Who incharge again? CDB loan $15mil and SSB loan $16mil plus tax money and the road infrastructure is far from adequate. Who in charge again? Sewage running in the streets @ EE, Purcells, RT, Duffs bottom, SCB etc. who in charge again. Well people more sick and tired of you. Sorry to be so blunt. You have been given so much and produces so little it’s just not funny. What is more embarrassing is that it seems the party is so short on people with knowledge to get the job done. Who to swap out? Who can really do the job competently???????……………

  22. Horrible says:

    Digicel sells it’s internet “lightening fast” but in reality it is horribly slow, and I am a victim of it paying $249 a month, please bring in customer protection law! That is the only solution for a better customer service.

    • ??? says:

      I consider anyone willing to pay $250 a month for home internet service a mad person/a lunatic. That is almost half of some people’s rent…

      • Horrible says:

        In your mind paying $1000 for marjuana is right thing! You should have born in 10th century.

      • watcher says:

        It is the only internet available on the north shore and is a rip off of mighty proportion. But so is every other internet service in BVI. Fast internet is $10 per month in the UK and “free” with a SKY TV subscription.

        I know of one company that left BVI in large part because the internet was not good enough for them to function. They moved , 40 jobs i believe, to Cayman.

    • Watcher says:

      I’m changing to the cheapest package, no point in having unlimited anything when you have no chance of even watching a youtube video.

  23. Tired says:

    Bring a new one NOW. Sick and tired of paying for no or sub standard service.

  24. Horrible says:

    In your mind paying $1000 for marjuana is right thing! You should have born in 10th century.

  25. Prophet says:

    TRC is a joke. This ministry has been a joke too. No one in the gov cares about people or else this would never have gotten to an internationally embarrassing state. When the people complained is when you should’ve felt humiliation not from a report. his leadership here has us nearly last in the world, last with our resources. GET OUT time

  26. Love the gesture ! says:

    Boy O Boy!
    I love to have a new service in place so that I can get more bytes and pay less but I am fearful 😧.
    Remember when we ALL were excited to welcome RITE WAY on Virgin Gorda. Yes man, we were all excited 😆 . Now we are wishing them gone . One lemon 90 cents. That is only one.
    PRAY BEFORE WE MAKE A MOVE.

  27. User says:

    2 months later still can’t event get 1mbps…What’s the point??

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