The cat is officially out of the bag on Clear Contact Ltd. They have been operating in stealth mode for several months. CC is actually a consortium of all of the large cable companies in the country along with some of our best technology and finance executives. Who knows why this latest BTL/GOB collusion revelation is scaring them? Their plan is to secure rights to wireline bandwidth to the Caribbean/Mexico and start to compete with BTL. Any VoIP offering would be physically and contractually independent of BTL and within the PUC’s “scarecrow” guidelines released last June. Why are Mr. Tench and the folks at Clear Contact Ltd. concerned about this?
And while that’s the politics side of it, how does this affect you? Well, first let’s recall the gist of the PUC ruling on voice over internet: it basically said that vastly cheaper VoIP phone calls and service were legal, but they had to originate in Belize from a Belize-issued phone number – unlike Vonage which assigns a U.S. number. That gave the room for a number of companies to startup on the central understanding that they could use VoIP within these guidelines to offer phone service in Belize. But now, if Boyce is right and those guidelines were just talk, those companies and their cheaper phone calls fantasies just walked out the door.
One of those companies is Clear Contact. The group, a consortium of cable and related interests, including Channel 7’s parent company, Tropical Vision, banded together and paid the PUC $50,000 for what’s called a class license – which authorizes them to move voice transmission – as data throughout Belize – which would mean cheaper calls for you and direct competition for BTL. Today Chairman of Clear Contact Evan Tench commented on the meaning of Boyce’s letter for his company and the telecom landscape in general.
Evan Tench, Chairman – Clear Contact
“Clear Contact’s business was based on the guidelines provided by the PUC issued in June of this year.”
What would a ban mean for customers?
“Our plan was to get internet bandwidth from ARCOS and distribute it to customers at a higher speed and cheaper rate and the bandwidth would be clear so we could offer more enchanced services including voice over internet.”
Based on the letter from Mr. Boyce, that can’t happen. Is that what is saying?
“From what I am seeing, it is saying that we won’t be able to offer voice over IP.”
You guys set up this company and paid the registration fee based on the PUC’s ruling so you guys used that as a guideline and now it is through the window.
“Yeah we paid $50,000 for a license, that is valid for 15 years, and according to the guidelines it should have allowed us to voice, video, and data.”
And while Clear Contact is on the frontline, so is the PUC which invited New World Technology to Belize to explore its options in a liberalized telecom environment. New World is the company that owns the fiber optic loop that runs throughout the region.