Guyana’s Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes has pledged that the nation’s telecom sector will finally be liberalised by the end of May this year, with the relevant regulations to be in place by that date, along with the establishment of the new regulatory authority, the Telecommunications Agency. Demerara Waves cites the official as saying that the legislation has been green-lit by the president, the regulations are being finalised and the administration is in the final stages of setting up the new agency.
The comments reportedly followed complaints from the CEO of incumbent Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), which holds a monopoly on international voice and data services, that the operator is subject to unfair restrictions. ‘We believe we will be finally free from uneven competition and will get fair and even regulation to all businesses in sector,’ the official commented.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Guyana passed long-overdue legislation in mid-2016 to end GTT’s monopolies and reform the regulatory structure for the sector. The implementation of the bill relies on negotiating an agreement with GTT, however, and the operator has previously defended fiercely its exclusivity, including derailing past efforts to pass legislation on the matter. The Telecommunications Agency, meanwhile, is set to incorporate one of the existing watchdogs – the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) – and will oversee the sector alongside another existing regulator, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).