BVI News

Gov’t to meet with telecoms providers, mobilise regulator to fix BVI’s poor internet

Premier Andrew Fahie

Government is to have pressing talks with local telecommunications providers and will be engaging the local regulator to finally address the many Internet-related issues plaguing the BVI.

Premier and minister responsible for telecommunication services, Andrew Fahie made that announcement on Monday, May 13.

“I intend to call an urgent meeting with the heads of the telecommunications companies operating in the territory to address what we view as a technological crisis. The meeting with all the relevant stakeholders in the telecommunication industry and the Premier will be sought forthwith,” Fahie said.

Premier Fahie said he believes a modern communication network that is reliable, efficient and inexpensive is fundamental to developing the territory’s economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and financial services.

He’s also urged the private sector to invest and develop the territory’s communication architecture to assist with providing a better overall service.

“In this regard, we want partners who understand the developmental needs, and who understand that by making communication reliable and affordable, it helps grow the market in which they are operating, ultimately broadening their base in the long term and increasing their profitability,” the Premier said.

Fahie said he believes the BVI will have vastly improved telecommunication services, once stakeholders pool their efforts to tackle the issues.

“We need all hands on deck to confront this challenge and solve the problems for the benefit of our people and the national economy. The cries of our people in this area will not go unheard and unaddressed any longer,” Fahie said while pledging to keep residents informed of the outcome of his meeting with local providers.

Growing concerns

Fahie, in the meantime, made reference to previous studies which show that BVI has some of the most expensive internet rates in the world.

“In some cases, taking into consideration exchange rates, our customers are paying four times the cost for the same type of service as in some of the other islands of the region,” Fahie said.

“Adding insult to injury, our people on a regular basis have had to endure regular outages and many reports of consequent poor customer services. My office will inform the local regulatory authorities to look into this matter immediately.”

The main providers are Flow, Digicel, and CCT. And according to the former minister responsible for telecommunications, Mark Vanterpool, BVI Cable TV is also licenced to provide internet services to the territory.

During his tenure as portfolio minister last year, Vanterpool threatened to invite outside Internet providers to do business in the territory if the current telecommunications companies in the local market did not improve their service. Vanterpool did not follow through.

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41 Comments

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  1. EV says:

    It is hoped that you are very successful with this issue Hon. Premire, especially in regards to affordability, affordability and affordability.

    Meanwhile, where there is no regulatory legislation in place to control market prices, players will not execise any morality, other than capitalist greed, in regards to profit margins.

    Additionally, some would argue whether government has the perogative to determine profit margins, however, or allow market forces to do so.

    However, when it is clearly illustrated, that compared to other states that this territory is being overly fleased, that the people are being leached, and the product is substandard to the cost, then there is a need for corrective legislation.

    And, not just words on a piece of paper, but words with accountable, enforceable mega tooths!

    The same can be said and must be done for food and other life’s nessecities prices, where the average profit margin on any given product is over 5000%. Thus the contuining need for price control legislation.

    And while you are at it, will the territory be getting afffordable cable any time soon?

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    • ATT says:

      I have near perfect service on my ATT phone from Havers. Why don’t we invite ATT into the BVI.

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      • dude says:

        If you don’t like C&W you won’t like AT&T trust me. Verizon would be a better thing.

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      • Hmmm says:

        They wanted t in the past but the Law prevented it from happening. Now things are in place they should be welcomed to provide wireless broad band and open up long distance access to and from the bvi.

      • Rubber Duck says:

        We don’t need AT and T. They are the same mold as C and W.

        We need Huwawei. The Chinese world leaders in telecoms.

        Let’s jump ahead not be fobbed off with the obsolete equipment Cable and Wireless dumps here when no one else will have it.

    • Backward< says:

      Good Luck! We need it, don’t drink the red punch on the table when you meet with them or else it will end up being talk as usual.

    • @EV says:

      We need to invite Time Warner or Infinity High end Cable,Phone and Internet services to do business in the BVI.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      The Premier needs to ask these virtual crooks why they are refusing to bring the fiber optic cable to Carrot Bay and other parts of his constituency. Local people are being denied TV service while part time residents in Belmont and elsewhere are being supplied with it.

      There are even rumors that Flow have demanded that local businesses should pay for the cable installation to Carrot Bay.
      Pure extortion.

      Action needed Mr Fahie.

      • smh says:

        Where, what part of Belmont has fiber optic service? I live in Belmont are have been repeatedly told the fiber optic cable has not reached to Belmont as yet.

  2. L says:

    This is long overdue. We have been suffering for too long.

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  3. vip heckler says:

    Will he only bark or bite?

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  4. Huge improvement says:

    I have seen huge improvement from flow since the storm. Took a long time but they gave me fibre to my house and now I have a steady 50m. Very happy with that.

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    • Yep says:

      FLOW’s Fiber internet service is the bomb!!!

      I’m getting a steady 100mb at home.

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      • Well Suh says:

        But at what price? Not just in relation to what you personally can afford. What is the price compared to other islands / countries / markets?

        • Huge improvement says:

          @well duh. At only about $10 more than I was paying for my 8m before the storm. That also is improvement in value for my $s.

          Also I live in tortola. On the elevator hill.

          The other thing that works much better for them is paying. So easy on their app. I get a text saying o owe and whip out my phone and get it done. Before I had to go into the storm. Leaps and bounds better. Well done flow.

      • Albion says:

        It is great if you have access to it. But very places on Tortola (and nowhere on the sister islands) has access to it.

        • Not exactly true says:

          Fiber internet is available in the Valley, Virgin Gorda foe sure at lease but I’m not sure about Tortola.

    • Hmmmm says:

      They would seal the deal with wireless broadband also.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Lucky you.

      They are very selective about who gets that.

  5. E Scott says:

    Is this not a matter that has been passed to CSK and his consultancy to deal with. With his VAST experience of the telecoms industry he will get BVI a greatly improved service. Note the understated comment ” get other companies to provide service” looks to me like a opportunity to get a brown envelope from the existing suppliers to prevent new providers or am I just cynical. PS Mr CSK I will happily pay for your airline ticket to the states to collect your stuff you left behind some time back after leaving in such a hurry. your current activities are raising eyebrows in curtain places Mr CSK. Tread lightly fella ! Certain authorities will get their man its a matter of time.

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  6. Snoppy says:

    ‘Vanterpool did not follow through.’

    What a surprise!

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  7. No nonsense says:

    Is this a hoax, wish hunt or progress before we dead from dem!

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  8. Ausar says:

    Honourable Premier Fahie, I am for the disbandment of these companies now in current operations, and a new crop of companies, to have the ability to offer services here.

    For far too long, these companies have offered shoddy services for exorbitant fees!

    Not because one may have 10 cents in the bank, he or she should be made to pay 6 cents, for telecommunicative operations!!!

    It’s now time for NEW and IMPROVED service providers, to provide the types of services, commensurate with the level of operations, that has been at the vanguard of the modern BVI society!

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  9. NASA Calling says:

    I am so sick of this from the Premier and his party. Grand announcements that lead absolutely nowhere. The Premier is not now or will ever be in a position to demand anything from the telecoms providers. We don’t forget that it is his party that forced 3 providers in the market where they are all barely making money and users are unable to get quality service for paying more than any other Caribbean island.

    Not even 3 months in and the people are tired of these shenanigans. Dear Mr Premier, you can’t just come and make grand pronouncements every week hoping for FB likes and clicks. The honeymoon is over, it’s time to get on with real work (if that can be mustered). We see through this nonsense and short term pronouncements and guises of doing what the people sent you to do.

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    • unfair says:

      I think this is incredibly unfair to the Premier and his team who are working assiduously to get the country moving. It is not just announcements. Every single thing he has said he will do, whether you agree with the thing or not, is followed up with action which gives people certainty. And certainty is key because even if you don’t like the direction, you can at least plan.

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  10. 4th District says:

    I have confidence in this move by the Premier and his Government.

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  11. Hodgie says:

    While you’re at it. There’s no local person working as technician in the residential side for FLOW. How’s possible to have all expats working in our homes. And if this isn’t address soon. Will be voting out the VIP in the next election. Premier please investigate. Neee to have our local people working in all sector. Pure Vincy for cheap labor.

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    • Question says:

      @Hodgie – I am not saying you are wrong. But as the Premier has only been in office a few months, if FLOW is all expats, how can you blame VIP for that?

  12. Phoenix says:

    My family home is remote, with no lines so we still have a wireless box. Every month, our wireless slows then stops and for several months, I called Cable and Wireless each time it happened. Every month, I’d speak with someone in Jamaica who told me that we were approaching our wireless cap and every month I’d say ‘we pay for unlimited’ and every month I was told that their records indicate we do not and every month I’d ask to speak with someone in the BVI and every month they would give me a phone number and every month I’d say “that is the number where I reached you” and every month I’d ask to speak with a manager in Jamaica and every month the manager said ‘I can transfer you’ and every month, I was transferred to Faults- in Jamaica. Then every month, someone in my family went to the Cable and Wireless offices in Road Town to ask that our billing be corrected. They finally wore us down- we stopped downloading big packages at home.

    I also ended up spending 8-12$ on those monthly calls because I won’t buy a plan. I won’t buy a plan because I would have no choice but to buy a 2 year iron clad (for me) contract while Cable and Wireless can change the plan at whim; before Irma, a family member purchased a contract for unlimited data and two weeks in, received notification that data was now capped. These days, the plan has barely any data at all….all for the same payment.

    I now pay for a VPN because I am permanently located by my isp in Antigua and Barbuda. I have a lot of business with Home Depot; Home Depot allows traffic from our VI. It does not allow traffic from A&B. I can’t even open the Home Depot site – and several others- without the VPN.

    I’m glad for @Home Improvement, who now has fiber optic cable, but I know of people who paid A LOT for the FO lines before Irma and have not been hooked back up yet. I know of businesses in Road Town which allowed C&W to run the FO cables across their land, that have regularly renewed requests for years and have not been hooked up yet.

    We are one of the Cable and Wireless bases, origin point of a major transatlantic cable. I find their policies toward the people of the VI colonialist at best.

    Many years ago, our government announced it was entering talks with ATT, whereupon Cable and Wireless announced it owned all the lines and poles and if talks were pursued, it would have all of our communications shut down within 4 days. They have ridden us like a tired donkey ever since.

    Mr Premier, thank you for your brave address. I am sure you know the history and risks of such an announcement. I, for one, support you and am willing to make short term sacrifices for the sake of our future as a Territory and beyond.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      We should all, en masse, object to the renewal of their trade licence.

      These people are moderns pirates of the BVI.

  13. @Hodgie says:

    You’re just noticing this NOW? It’s been that way for over a decade….so who you gonna vote for next time?

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  14. US says:

    So sorry you guys don’t have T Mobel, AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.

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  15. Eagle eye says:

    El Marko kill us with talk about attacking those phone companies.now you coming to take up where El Marko left.to much talk we want ACTION

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  16. Bob says:

    It will be nice to have T-Mobile, AT&T and the other U.S providers here but that may create some controversy seeing that we are British; perhaps having those providers from the U.K ( Virgin Mobile, O2, Vodafone & EE) might be ideal.

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  17. @Bob says:

    Names and faces change but the game will continue to be the same. Tortola will always remain in third world Country status.

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  18. Trick Treat says:

    For everyone of Andrews TRICKS , there will be a PRomise of a TREAT .Good Solid tricks and “I will try my best ” treats .
    Good one

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  19. @@Bob says:

    The term Third World is a divisive term concoted by one deeming himself to be of supremacist mentality.

    Ther is but one world with many levels of so called developement, just as there are billions of humans, each with his and her or own level of intelligence and or intellectual development.

    Yet, they are all human. Not one is considered a first human and another a third human, is there? You are either a human or you are dead, period!

    You ain’t no first, second or third human. Similarly, there ain’t no first, second or third world, period. That is European psuedo racist classification BS.

    Is Africa the first, Russia the second, Europe the third, Australia the third and America the fourth world? Just asking.

    Didn’t they all arrive lately? Except Africa that is. So which is first world? Funny though how often truth explains itself eh.

  20. Blah says:

    Whatever Andrew …

  21. Real talk says:

    Bvi needs to hire another internet provider that will be fair to the people and have good internet. 2 years after Irma people still have that wireless box with no good net and paying so much money for. We should get more competition. These enternet group service abusing the people and their customer service is bad very. If I had a choice I would have left them and that is what we don’t have here.

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