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BVIEC fires back: BVI Cable TV misleading, unsafely connected to poles without permission

File photo of linesmen working to restore power on Tortola after the September 2017 hurricanes.

The BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has refuted accusations by BVI Cable TV that claimed the electricity company was using discriminatory industry practices against the cable company.

In a media statement this week, BVI Cable TV had said the BVIEC was charging to use their utility poles and was doing so at rates “far exceeding what another local telecommunications provider is being charged”.

The BVIEC has fired back with a media statement of its own and described BVI Cable TV’s claim as misleading. The BVIEC said they actually offered BVI Cable TV the same commercial terms as the other telecoms company, FLOW.

“This new arrangement was accepted by FLOW — which was the entity with the second-largest share of the pole infrastructure before the hurricanes … They executed an agreement for attachment to BVIEC’s poles in July 2018,” the BVIEC said in their media statement on Thursday, August 15.

BVIEC also said they were forced to take the matter to the court because “it became apparent that BVI Cable TV was not negotiating in good faith”.

The utility company also said BVI Cable TV had accessed the BVIEC’s poles without its permission.

“Further and more importantly, some of their (BVI Cable TV) reckless attachments were creating safety risks to both the public and BVIEC’s personnel. The Board of Directors of BVIEC, [therefore], issued instructions for legal action to be taken against BVI Cable TV,” BVIEC explained.

The BVIEC said they owned 55 percent of the territory’s pole infrastructure, FLOW had 35 percent, BVI Cable TV owned the next 10 percent, and all three companies shared each other’s poles at no cost long before the September 2017 disasters.

In explaining why they decided to start charging to share their utility poles, the BVIEC said: “Following the hurricanes, the entire pole infrastructure comprising of several thousands of poles within the territory was reinstated at the sole cost of BVIEC. Further, during BVIEC’s restoration of the national electricity infrastructure, it was determined that in some instances BVIEC’s pole infrastructure became compromised due to the lack of adherence to industry standards by BVI Cable TV and others due to how they attached their equipment to BVIEC’s poles.

Currently, the court has issued an injunction, barring BVI Cable TV from placing any attachments on BVIEC’s poles.

BVI Cable TV has said it is open to filing a lawsuit and/or seek intervention from government or the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

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5 Comments

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  1. Resident says:

    Whatever allyo have to do get it done soon cause we need back cable tv!!!!!

    Like 1
    Dislike 14
    • No, No! says:

      No we don’t need BVI Cable TV back. You are doing just fine. You did without it for two years and you are still here. Please put the money that you would have paid them into an account and take up a book and read. It is ok, really. Trust me. You are ok.

      Like 35
      Dislike 1
  2. Future of Cable TV says:

    Is this a viable business model given competition from internet, satellite, FlowTV? “The European Broadcasting Union concluded that with a move from network-centric to consumer-centric thinking, creation of relevant local content, co-investment and working together to leverage existing infrastructure, the future of Cable TV is promising.” I doubt BVI Cable TV has the resources to invest in these changes.

  3. Why? says:

    With Amazon fire stick and a multitude of other internet based TV surely cable TV is now redundant. I have better TV now than before Irma and am not paying anything like what I was to Cable TV. Cannot imagine there will be much of an uptake for it. Have they done a business plan?

  4. hmm says:

    There was a time Cable & Wireless wanted to buy Cable TV and obviously it didn’t work so after a couple years they finally getting their own thing going. Could it be they under the table not wanting the local company to bring it back like how they brought back the mobile.

    Just playing devils advocate.

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