URCA ‘frolic’ blocks CBL price hike

12 Feb 2013

Bahamian watchdog the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has denied Cable Bahamas Ltd’s (CBL’s) request to increase the price of its SuperBasic cable TV offering on the basis that it was contrary to the overall objectives of its electronic communication policy. In its decision the regulator said that its major concern was that there was no lower-price alternative available, as CLB was not compliant with its universal service obligation (USO). Further, URCA’s public consultation highlighted concerns regarding consumer protection, pricing and quality of service (QoS).

CBL has criticised the watchdog, claiming that its application was sound and that URCA was moving the goalposts. A statement from the cableco noted that the regulator had confirmed that there were no anti-competitive concerns, that the financial study was solid and that its benchmarking analysis had supported the application. Nevertheless, ‘URCA has decided to embark on a ‘frolic of its own’ and introduce additional requirements for a price increase.’ CBL added that ‘URCA has based its refusal on parameters outside the scope and intent of the rules set out by them.’ The cableco will explore all regulatory and legal options to challenge the decision.