Channel 7 – Ralph Fonseca: PUC Guidelines Were ‘Administrative Step’

Original Story:

What is the government’s position on voice over internet? We’ve heard what the Prime Minister had to say, but all he really told us is what his position is. The only man who it seems can speak authoritatively about government’s position is Minister of Public Utilities Ralph Fonseca. He’s the man who gave BTL assurances and undertakings that the Public Utility Commission’s VoIP guidelines were really just great sound and fury signifying nothing much. Today in the House he amplified his position. Responding to a question from the Leader of the Opposition, he said that all those VoIP consultations, deliberations and the policy were just an administrative step, and not a policy decision.

Hon. Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Public Utilities
“The guidelines released by the PUC in June were solely done in effort to start coming to grips with an extremely complex issue in order provide a framework for classifying, monitoring, analyzing, and discussing the way forward. The guidelines formed an administrative step after consultations with the industry and the public. Existing legislation never contemplated VoIP and amending them without this first step would have been irresponsible.

We also know that the individual class license holders, BTL and Speednet, have invested millions across the country for a much higher level of security through training, back up systems, hard wires, fibre optic cables, and multiple towers. These investments cannot be endangered recklessly by permitting foreign or local entities to compete unfairly. Most countries in the world today are trying to find the solution to the reality of VoIP and the imperative for a level playing field. The very technology VoIP is commonly referred to by those in the industry as a disruptive technology.

Since 1998 we have come too far with telecommunications to now throw everything into chaos for a short term gain or the premature excitement created by new technology.”

Speaker Elizabeth Zabenah,
“Honorable Member for Queen’s Square I hope you heard the answer because you weren’t paying much attention.”

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“It wasn’t an answer, it was a statement by the Minister. But since the Speaker would not stop the Member, I turned off.”

Speaker Elizabeth Zabenah,
“In opinion it wasn’t an answer but it sounded like an answer to me. The least you could have done was listen.”

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“It was s short question, I did not invite the Minister to make a statement. There is an agenda item for that.”

The PUC issued a $50,000 class license to at least two companies based on the apparently now irrelevant VoIP guidelines.


One Response to Channel 7 – Ralph Fonseca: PUC Guidelines Were ‘Administrative Step’

  1. Pissed off says:

    You’re all with Ralph Fonseca and all the rats, You stand and take everything that comes your way. Everyone complains, but no actionsare taken. The poor get poorer, the hard working people get robbed from taxes and all so Ralph and his family could afford lush vacations around the world and live the high life. I have no sympathy for people like that everyone from The prime minister to all the people in power are all thieves when will someone open their eyes. Why isn’t anyone prosecuted by law for fraud and embezelment which is clearly what’s going on in Belize’s fragile economy. I can’t say no more it’s just so frustrating to even think about. I just feel bad about the poor people of Belize, who have no idea of what is coming to them next.

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