The dispute between BVI Cable TV and the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) about the two companies utility pole-sharing agreement has now come to an end.
A media release from the Office of the Premier said the two parties came to a final decision on June 4. This agreement now allows BVI Cable TV to, once again, attach its infrastructure to poles owned by the BVIEC.
The conclusion of the dispute followed a meeting which Premier Andrew Fahie held last October to ‘listen to the concerns’ of the two companies.
Commenting on the resolution, Chairwoman of the BVIEC, Rosemarie Flax said she was pleased that both parties were able to find common ground.
She said this latest agreement is in the “best interest of all stakeholders” and it will “add value to the economy of the Virgin Islands”.
The dispute, which had been happening for roughly a year, resulted in the cable company — which has not been operational since the September 2017 hurricanes — having to suspend its network’s redeployment.
The companies had been at loggerheads since the BVIEC replaced their utility poles that had fallen during hurricanes Irma and Maria.
According to the aforementioned media release, the parties “could not reach an amicable agreement on several issues, including the replacement of poles, rental rates, safety protocols and best practice”.
The BVIEC had owned 55 percent of the territory’s entire pole infrastructure before the hurricanes. Telecommunications provider, Flow is said to have owned 35 percent while BVI Cable owned the last 10 percent. They all mutually shared the poles at no cost.
Fastforward to 2019 when BVI Cable was ‘very close’ to relaunching its services, they received an court injunction that effectively halted their network deployment.
In explaining the dispute at the time, BVI Cable said the BVIEC decided to charge them to use their poles at a rate “far exceeding what another local telecommunications provider is being charged”.
The BVIEC later refuted those accusations and said they were forced to take the matter to the court because “BVI Cable TV was not negotiating in good faith”.
An emergency meeting was then held with Premier Fahie, TRC boss Guy Malone and the feuding parties.
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