BVI News

Premier rubbishes claims of ‘unfavourable terrain’ | Up to 5yrs to improve internet

Premier Andrew Fahie

Premier Andrew Fahie has rubbished the reasons local telecommunications providers recently gave for their poor and expensive internet service to the territory.

The Premier was responding to recent BVI News report in which two of the three main telecoms providers claimed that unfavourable terrain and the expensive cost of infrastructure have largely contributed to the cost of internet services in the territory.

“These stated reasons raise certain questions in my mind and certainly in the mind of ordinary everyday persons because the telecommunications service providers would have known about these technical issues before they applied for the concessions to operate and therefore, I cannot believe that this is an after the fact discovery,” the Premier said in the House of Assembly on Monday.

He said telecoms providers will now have up to half-a-decade to improve their service. He further noted that other measures will be taken to facilitate this.

“The government and the regulator have begun discussions and will continue to discuss with the operators and other key stakeholders propose changes to the market structure, regulatory reforms, new license requirements, enhance quality of service standards and revisiting the implementation of the industry levy to deliver market improvement of telecommunications services throughout the territory within three to five years,” Premier Fahie stated.

Fahie also revealed that more than 20 million dollars in taxes were waived by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to facilitate telecoms providers in delivering modern, competitive, and reasonably-priced services to the local market.

“A total revenue that would have been collected by the commission from the telecom companies from the date of liberalisation — 2007 to present is $20,773,529.02. That is the amount of money that the Commission gifted the telecoms company by this forbearance with the anticipation that it would be put towards improving the service quality and price,” the Premier said.

Due to what he described as a large number of complaints about high internet prices and inconsistent service locally, the Premier said it is evident the primary policy objectives set back in 2007 have not been achieved.

A UK report back in 2017 listed BVI as an underperforming country that has one of the most expensive internet services on the planet.

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26 Comments

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  1. NDP Supporter says:

    Premier I agree with you 100% on this one.

    Like 21
    • Chairman Mao says:

      5G Baby! It’s faster than cable, it’s faster than optical, it’s a speeding bullet!

      Hauwei can install it tomorrow! They will even finance it! And everyone in the from St Thomas to Anegada will be fast!!!

      Like 4
      Dislike 4
      • Spy says:

        Please read something – get informed, about Hawaii 5G and their world wide spying operation! You will change your mind quickly.
        Also, 5G system needs repeaters every 1/2 mile or so. Do you want BVI having more transmitting towers then trees. I don’t! I get 300 mb/s on LTE for about $20 per months – open and unlimited. It can be done, problem is GREED!

        Like 5
        Dislike 2
  2. Clearly says:

    This man isn’t joking at all. He’s taking on some heavy issues one after the other that really needs tackling and he is doing well with each of them. The internet in the BVI really sucks.

    Like 32
  3. By time says:

    It is high time that a government deals with these service providers who are ripping us off monthly and giving us bad service.

    Like 31
  4. A Cyber Tech says says:

    So BVI let us review. The previous Minister of Comm & Works gave companies some years and a dead line and an “Or Else” that time has come and gone with zero improvements. The TRC has given away over $20M in fees to the same companies that said they needed the money to improve service and Irma damage. The UK says our service sucks and is expensive. So the latest solution is an additional 5 years and more TRC promises of “Improvements”? This can has been kicked so many times down the road that it’s become a joke with no punch line. Good thing we paid $98K for solid and professional advice.

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
    • Albion says:

      “Or else” seems to be the Government’s default setting (not matter who is in power).

      Everyone knows nothing will change. But in 5 years it will be another Government’s problem.

      Just like it is now despite Mark Vanterpool tellling the providers “or else” two years ago.

      Like 9
      Dislike 1
    • Sam says:

      New rule if your a Belonger or bvislanber you get service in not no service

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
  5. Consumers Still Praying?Suffering says:

    The major consumer issue and problem here is cost, cost and cost for the consumer.

    The service is just to expensive for the product. Hope more is being thought about on bringing those cost down to normal and international standards of profit margins decencas this article has not mentioned any word on that major consumer concern.

    Next, a hard piece of consumer protection legislation is due to the territory and its people.

    Because, the people are being fleeced and advantaged daily on all from cradle to grave items, due to pure greed and no checks and balances are in place to avert or ease the financial suffering of the people.

    Last, a mandatory cost of living adjustment must be crafted and enacted into the Constitution and law.

    It is pure slavery to subject a people and population to twenty to thirty years of slave minimum wages without ever seeing an increase in income, but only in cost of living.

    Finally, will the people receive their earned increments and salary raises as were promised?

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  6. TurtleDove says:

    Fahie also revealed that more than 20 million dollars in taxes were waived by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to facilitate telecoms providers in delivering modern, competitive, and reasonably-priced services to the local market.

    Time for AT&T..Verizon…T-mobile….etc!!!!!!

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
    • Hmmm says:

      Go to St.thomas and purchase an at&t chip….you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to see speeds of 2mbps advertised and delivered as 4g for mobile devices and dead zone akin to the BVI…The only saving grace is the price which is moderately more affordable the here but the service still SUCKS

    • Rubber Duck says:

      That are backward and will only dump their outdated kit here as Cable and Wireless do.

      Hauwei

      And satellite is where it’s at now.

  7. James says:

    Five years? Is this a joke?

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  8. Easy says:

    It’s easy for him to do what he is doing because he is not double-dipping. The last Government had so many conflicts they couldn’t fight on behalf of the people without beating up themselves so we saw what happened. Its probably easier for the Premier to deal with these things as he has no business interests in them unlike some before him. Let’s see how it plays out.

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  9. Windy says:

    Start insisting on improvements NOW or get out ! Using the storms and terrain is just more b.s. excuses to continue the p**s poor service and rip off the people of the BVI even more. Put in place a performance schedule that has to be met, no excuses ! Remind the present providers AT&T has service less than a mile away that a few on West End can already enjoy.

    Like 15
  10. L says:

    5 years is still too much time.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  11. It really sucks says:

    I am paying over a hundred dollars for internet monthly and cannot get services to my bedroom nor to the entrance of my door. Before irma i use to get it in the parking lot of my yard. So they really need to come again that company is slow

  12. hmm says:

    Be careful what you wish for! I can stay in BVI and call the USA and USVI unlimited. Not one of my family in the USA can call me with such luxury.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  13. Ausar says:

    Honourable Premier, this is one area in which we need a HEAVY HANDED APPROACH, to tackling the problems!

    Do what you can, Premier,WITHOUT APOLOGIES, to ensure EFFECTABILITY!

    Anything less,would be considered abominable!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  14. E scott says:

    Pasta Kline will be happy with the five year time line, that’s $980,000.

  15. Ice-cream Scoop says:

    Truth be told, wireless service in the BVI is far more expensive to set up and run because of the mountains blocking the long range of the towers but…the wireless service is not the complaint. It’s the super expensive, poor quality fixed internet that we are complaining about. I don’t see how the management of FLOW feel they could try to pull a fast one on us by saying they have to invest in a lot of towers. They had several decades to drop fiber and leave it but no. They decided on a 3 phase robbery project:

    Phase 1 – push as much internet out to residential and business users over half rotten copper cables and charge unreasonable prices for speed we never got.

    Phase 2 – remove a part of the rotten copper that runs from their service buildings to our homes/businesses and replace it with fiber and a large white box called a msan (or something so I was told). The net now runs from the white box across the existing rotten copper to your home or business. This increased the speed slightly and in some cases, some people finally got the advertised speeds they were charged for over so many years. Of course they used this as an excuse to increase prices even though the majority of the country still had poor internet that would drop out every time it rains due to the remainder of the rotten copper wires to your home or business. This move allowed them to avoid the “wrath” of the newly formed TRC.

    Phase 3 – FINALLY after being slapped in the face by Irma, they install fiber in certain areas of the country and again used that investment as an excuse to increase prices. The same investment, if done 40 years ago would have still be underground giving us solid, reliable internet and lots of profits for them.

    But this is Cable and Worthlessness…there has to be a con somewhere in that 3rd phase to milk the people…and there is.
    They limited the fiber to the main roads and surrounding buildings. The people living further in from the main roads do not have fiber and are forced to pay $250 per month from FLOW LTE wireless to just have basic unlimited internet for their families. When we asked why the expensive houses just a couple thousand feet away have fiber but the apartment buildings further in do not, they said “it is not financially viable for the company to run fiber to your premises”.

    This is how business is done. Install stable fiber internet for 1 or 2 households in a street ($116 per month each) just so that they can brag and say “Look we put in fiber to your country, what more do you want?” While 20+ less wealthy households (living in apartments etc) on that same street have to pay $250 for the less reliable wireless service while taking hard talk from their management “If you are not satisfied with our service you can go elsewhere”…right because $200 per month at Digicel or CCT for even less reliable internet is a great option…

    No matter what politicians say or how many years they pretend to give these companies to “fix” the problem, the people will always get the short end of the stick. FLOW will continue to engineer ways to get past the weak government check points while ripping off the public behind the scenes.

    Even if Digicel and CCT decide to install fixed internet across fiber, they will continue the borderline price fixing practices they have been practicing since they first started here. The wireless prices for residential internet is about the same from all 3 companies and if one company has “OK” service in one area, the other 2 companies have garbage service in that same area…this allows all 3 companies to maintain the high prices across the country, and not really compete with each other.

    Pass the consumer protection laws! Pass proper telecom regulations to stop the corrupted practices! Five years is too long!

    • TRUE SOLUTION says:

      The only way to deal with this issue is to make mandatory for all providers to equally contribute to the cost of lying new fiber lines Tortola, VG, Anegada and JVD, by the way of deposit of moneys if they want to do business in BVI or their licence is revoked, they stole enough already! Then let them compete on price of their service. Price will go down as competition will drive it down and there will be fiber optic cable to all areas underground, that means hurricane proof. You don’t have to be Einstein to find a formula!

  16. Timeline says:

    Why is the timeline 5years and not within 4 years? A government term is only 4 years. Are they really working to get us proper internet? Was the timeline set so that we don’t hold them accountable for not getting it done as there are no guarantees that they will be re-elected? Seems like more lip service and we still would not make progress.

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