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TRC dodges blame for bad internet report

Head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commision, Guy Malone

Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) is dodging responsibility for the BVI being labelled as an underperforming country that has one of the most expensive internet services in the world.

The territory was given the label based on a UK-sanctioned report showing that the BVI ranks a miserable 181 from the world’s 196 countries, in terms of internet cost. The report also said that the territory has below-minimum internet speeds.

The TRC is the body responsible for regulating how local internet providers operate and, by its own mandate, protecting the interests of users of telecoms services.

But when asked to respond to the report on the territory’s poor performance, TRC’s Chief Executive Officer Guy Malone suggested that his company should not be blamed.

Malone told BVI News: “That has nothing to do with the Commission. I think you should be having such conversation with the operators with respect to that (the findings in the report) because that is what is putting them out there. The Commission will be the last person to make a comment or have anything to say.”

The TRC boss went on to criticize the media for reporting on the issue.

He described the BVI News publication as unfair and ill-timed.

“At this point in time, I’m surprised that you all are bringing out such a report… After what we went through everybody think that two months down the road we are supposed to be back to normal and we are not back to normal,” said Malone, while commending the three main telecoms providers on their efforts to restore internet and communications in the territory, following the September hurricanes.

“With respect to what the operators are trying to do to restore communication – it is the brilliant job, in my opinion as CEO, that they have done,” he said.

BVI had poor internet service before hurricanes

Notably, the global internet speed study was done over a 12-month period up to May 2017, while the study on global internet affordability was conducted between August and October this year.

Those two studies stated that BVI internet providers charge an average of US$146.05 per month, and that the territory’s average internet speed is 5.49 megabits per second.

Ten megabits per second is the minimum internet speed required by international standards to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business.

The TRC is responsible for advising the Minister of Communications on regional and international telecommunications policies.

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