By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Local telecommunications providers have until the end of the year to at least start showing signs of improved internet service in the British Virgin Islands.
While speaking to BVI News on Monday, Communications Minister Mark Vanterpool said the telecoms companies are first being given an opportunity to rebuild their systems, which were damaged during the September 2017 hurricanes.
The territory’s three main telecoms providers are Flow, Digicel, and CCT.
“I met with all three of them and from what I’ve gathered, I believe before the end of the year they will have some better answers than they have had before in terms of [internet] speed, reliability, and I hope cost. So, I believe all three of them are working feverishly to get back up on track first of all,” Vanterpool said.
“From what I’ve seen from some of them, they have made relatively good progress and they are working towards answering to our [call for] more reliability,” the minister added.
Companies promise results by summer
The minister said ‘some’ providers have promised results by the summer of 2018. However, he said he is opting to extend that time to end-of-year given the 2017 disasters and the unpredictability of the impending hurricane season, which starts in June.
“You never know what’s going to happen based on what we’ve seen,” the minister reasoned.
But, the minister intimated that the extension is not an invitation for the telecoms companies to become complacent.
Asked what government plans to do if the telecoms companies do not provide results by year’s end, the minister said he has received “good assurance” from the three internet providers.
“They understand it’s in their best interest to really get on with it. If they don’t, we have to get on with it. That’s all I can say,” Vanterpool asserted.
Back in January, the minister announced that government had given the telecoms providers an ultimatum to improve their internet service.
He said government would consider inviting other internet providers to operate in the BVI if local providers do not comply.
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