JIS News

Story Highlights

  • OUR is holding meetings with sector stakeholders to discuss the decision by Digicel and LIME to block applications that allow users to make free phone calls over the internet.
  • The telecommunications companies have blocked Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from accessing their networks.
  • The OUR is seeking the input of the various groups in “putting together a position” on the matter.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is holding meetings with sector stakeholders to discuss the decision by Digicel and LIME to block applications that allow users to make free phone calls over the internet.

The telecommunications companies have blocked Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from accessing their networks. They argue that VoIP providers are unlicenced and therefore are unauthorized to utilize their networks.

State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, said that OUR is seeking the input of the various groups in “putting together a position” on the matter.

“They have begun…to look at a position around what is called net neutrality, how you deal with different players on a network, the speed, access, (and) cost, (among other factors),” he stated at an American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica function in New Kingston on Friday, July 4.

Mr. Robinson is urging persons and entities with concerns and positions on the matter to make submissions to the OUR.

He noted the need for “broader and fulsome discussions” on the matter, in light of the fact that the action of Digicel and LIME is permissible under the Telecommunications Act.

“The Act, actually, allows them to block people who use their network to provide voice services. So they are not doing anything illegal. (We) can (however) have (discussions) about whether (the decisions) stifle competition (and) innovation (among other things),” he stated.