The Council of Ministers of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) – the body which represents the interests and provides an overarching regulatory structure for the Eastern Caribbean states of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines – has said it will move ahead with plans for new legislation that will guarantee the citizens of its member states receive unhindered access to internet services. ECTEL issued a statement saying that the planned new rules include ‘provisions for supporting the policy of net neutrality, which is based on the principle that ISPs should treat all data on the internet the same. Due to the increased number of over the top [OTT] services and the growing trend for service providers to block these services, this principle has become very important to protect consumer’s ability to access all content on the internet. The principles of net neutrality have been included in electronic communications legislation in European Union countries, the United States of America, Chile and Canada.’
Going forward, ECTEL will continue to pursue its policy position on net neutrality armed with the new Electronic Communications (EC) Bill which was recently approved by the ECTEL Council of Ministers. The Bill sets the framework for full public consultation on the development of regulations which will specifically address net neutrality.