Basically, the situation has not changed much, altho there is a lot of hullabaloo about it.
You can read about the hullabaloo here, a site maintained by the Belize Free Internet Consortium. As I have pointed out elsewhere, Hon. Said Musa and the PUP acknowledged that the Internet was key to future economic success in 1999. He commissioned a a blue ribbon panel to study the Services sector of the economy and presented a report which was on the belize.gov website for over five years. This year, it disappeared. (You can see it here.) After that repoort was issued, the PUP pressed to quit the monopoly that BTL had. A competitor, Intelco, was founded to break the monopoly, and was awarded a contract to supply all of the GOB’s communications. It a farcical series of events, Intelco borrowed a bunch of money (about $88 million) from the DFC and a Miami bank; built a set of towers and offices, and then… shut down, defaulting on the loans. BTL continued to supply GOB communications.
Speednet is a competitor in the Cellular arena, but they buy all of their services from BTL!
The history of BTL, through Jun 2005, is related by Mark Espat here. At that time, it appeared that BTL might be sold to employees and other interested Belizeans, but the majority share was sold back to Lord Michael Ashcroft. It soon became apparent that BTL would not lower its rates — the Belize was still basically in the same monopoly situation it was in when the services report was published in 1999!
Mort recently, the PUC and the Legislator have expressed a desire to allow people in Belize to use VoIP (Voice over Internet) systems to make long distance calls. This has been thwarted by BTL. Their blockage of such services as Skyp and Vonage are related here.
Most recently, BTL has announced a new service, WebTalk which works like other VoIP services. By some accounts, it appears to be antequated and expensive.
My old partner and friend Hugo now has a calling center in Corozal. His office, Stellar Links, is at 39A 4th Avenue (half a block north of Reyes) and he offers calls to the US for $5 dollah a half hour, $2.50 min. for 15 minutes or less. You can inquire by mail here.
If you have additional comments about the current situation, please write me.
This entry was posted on Friday, December 22nd, 2006 at 3:23 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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