Yves Ephraim, the managing director of Antigua-based Pegasus Technologies, a company which set up in 1999 to provide IT support, solutions and products, and which claims to be a pioneer in the development of the Antigua-Barbuda internet infrastructure, says he wants firm action to be taken to improve the telecoms industry on the islands. Speaking during the 18th regional Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) meeting, Ephraim highlighted his company’s concerns over the state of the local market, and bemoaned that the monopoly of state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) over landline services has resulted in high costs for bandwidth, while delays in implementing new legislation is hampering growth and development.
The Daily Observer cites the Pegasus boss as saying that an absence of proper leadership and guidance from successive governments means that no one is looking at the ‘big picture’, noting: ‘We’ve seen the movement from one government administration that has, in a sense, created inconsistencies in terms of policies. From my perspective, what you see is that under one administration a favoured carrier gets concession and then the other one flips to another favourite one and then another administration flips to a favourite one and I think the time has come for the government to look at the big picture and try to really create a kind of cooperative environment where everybody can win and not some people losing at the expense of others.’
The St John’s, Antigua-headquartered technologies provider believes that a new legal framework needs to be established quickly to allow competition to flourish. ‘Over 15 years now we’ve been talking about new legislation. We’ve had a draft and it’s been going back and forth, back and forth, and from one administration to the next administration nothing seems to happen and so at the moment the rules are uncertain about how you’re gonna play in this arena. I think we need to get some clarity so that people know exactly what those rules are and it’s not left up to the whim of an official,’ he claimed, and said that there were currently no real opportunities for local ISPs to get a toehold – apparently in reference to the recent dispute between government-owned APUA, Irish-owned Digicel and British-owned Flow over the sharing of mobile spectrum. ‘There’s a need from the regulator side to not focus on those current players but to leave room for others to enter into that space as well, and particularly indigenous peoples. I’ve found that other than the government-owned entities and the favoured international entities that are there, there’s really no discussion or way made for indigenous people to kind of get into that space and participate as well,’ Mr Ephraim argued.