The Guyanese government has signed an exemption order to accelerate the licensing process for smaller ISPs as part of the state’s efforts to expand the telecommunications sector. Local news outlet Demerara Waves quotes Prime Minister Mark Phillips as saying: ‘I have signed an exemption order that is linked towards 50-odd local small ISPs. This will prevent them from having to go through a long process to be granted a licence. They just have to register and pay the necessary fees associated with the service. These are the small providers who will buy and sell services and are going the extra mile, especially in the areas where the big companies may not necessarily want to go.’ As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the government implemented long-awaited legislation to liberalise the nation’s telecom sectors in October 2020, but elements of the process are ongoing. In his most recent statement, the PM noted the main providers – Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT), Digicel Guyana and E-Networks – have been issued fresh licences under the new legislation but have requested that elements of the concessions be adjusted. According to the official, the government has ‘identified the amendments that are necessary for them to expand their services’ and has assured that those amendments are granted. Specific details of the requests were not forthcoming, however. Whilst the roughly 50 small ISPs requesting licences are local firms, Mr Phillips stressed that the government has an open door policy for international companies to enter market and claimed to have received expressions of interest (EoIs) from three companies to-date.
Separately, the PM went on to add that funds are being made available to drive network expansion, with the government aiming to connect 200 hinterland communities in 2021. Highlighting the recurring issues with previous efforts to facilitate expansion that seen network installed incorrectly, Mr Phillips noted that his office was receiving regular requests for the repair or installation of a community ICT hub.