Apparently they can.
Over a week ago, the Belize PUC released their guidelines specifically permitting PC-to-PC calling software like Skype, MSN and Yahoo. The greedmongers at BTL are officially ignoring their framework and still blocking ALL INTERNET PHONE SERVICES. This ridiculous behavior is sending their own organization and thousands of confused BTL customers into total disarray.
PUC, What is your purpose again? At what point do BTL’s actions this become criminal? Could the electricity and water companies you regulate get away with such voilations? Who is protecting us?
Do you realize the extent of the PR nightmare you are causing with your “framework”? In the world telecommunications community, we are now lumped in with China and Saudi Arabia. How does it feel to have placed Belize on a short list that includes those names? Did you know that in Saudi Arabia, the accepted punishment for robbery is to amputate one of the thief’s limbs?
Most countries allow ALL kinds of VoIP service. Where did you miss this fact in all the “meetings” you conducted when formulating this framework?
Here is what people are saying:
“If someone in the US wants to call and make a reservation to stay at a hotel in Belize and the hotel has a Vonage number, they are cut off. BTL and GOB currently make NO MONEY on incoming calls. So why cut off your nose to spite your face? Even if they allowed incoming calls, it would make it MUCH EASIER for prospective tourists, developers, investors, etc. to get in touch with someone in Belize. But now, they will be unable to.” (shuffles, AmbergrisCaye.com Message Board)
“Bottom line, they have managed to block VOIP at the expense of screwing up all their other services. No body wins except Michael Ashcroft, the rich Brit, who now owns controlling interest in BTL. The money all goes off shore.” (scubawalk, AmbergrisCaye.com Message Board)
“We let them get away with an illegal rate hike… we let them get away with not paying us back for illegal overbilling… are we going to now let them get away with restricting how we use the services we are already overcharged for?” (cameraman, BelizeForums.com Message Board)
“BTL will do what ever they want. They are a monopoly and the PUC has no enforcement authority. The only way to hurt them is to cancel your service. Oh, can’t do that, there are not options. Except satellite. DSL is nice, but I think I’ll keep my Hughes Net service a few more months, just to see how things shake out. I was planning to cancel it in July, but maybe I’ll cancel BTL instead.” (Seagrape49, BelizeForums.com Message Board)