Channel 7 News – Musa Says Regulators Will Decide VoIP’s Future

Original Story:

http://www.7newsbelize.com/archive/04260602.html

And while Myvette says it is a board decision, many observers believe that it ultimately a Cabinet decision and today we got the considered VoIP opinion of the boss of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister.

Rt. Hon. Said Musa,
“We believe it is a matter that should be fully canvassed and discussed. We recognize that the modern technology is such that the whole question of voice over internet is a part of technological life and we believe that BTL and the other providers, I believe they are using it, and so what we have to do is find a balanced way forward to bring down the cost of the use of telephone and other such devices in telecommunications and I think this matter is being analyzed by the people who are concerned with it and the PUC, I believe, is canvassing the views of the public with a view to coming up with a position.”

Alfonso Noble,
You say you are looking at ways to bring down the price of international calls. How can you do this with a monopoly which time and time again has proven that they are not ready to do that, they are here to make profits?

Rt. Hon. Said Musa,
“Whether it is a monopoly or not, the fact of the matter is that there is competition out there and people, through their creativity, have found a way to reduce costs for themselves so that is what they’ll have to deal with.”

Alfonso Noble,
But now that creativity is being limited or they are trying to limit that creativity.

Rt. Hon. Said Musa,
“Well there is another aspect to this thing that we should not ignore and that is that BTL pays its taxes and it can only pay taxes if they make a profit. Although it is based on the gross, it can only pay taxes if it is a going operation and a large part of their revenue, if you like, comes from international calls. What I am saying is we cannot allow say a foreign provider who pays nothing to the country of Belize to be charging people for a facility and the country does not benefit from that. That telecommunications and the satellite and all the airwaves and what not, that footprint belongs to Belize and Belizeans should benefit so they cannot be charging our people outside and we get nothing out if it. So it’s a complex issue that will have to be resolved, in fact it is affecting the entire region and the world at this time.”

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