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Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has announced that plans have been advanced in the policy stage process, to facilitate the issuing of an islandwide wireless cable licence.
“I will not say much more, but I am putting you on guard that this is coming,” the Minister disclosed at a Digital Switchover Workshop, hosted by the Broadcasting Commission at the Knutsford Court Hotel on March 3.
The Minister’s comments come against the background of deepening concerns about telecommunication juggernaut, FLOW (Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited), purchasing several cable outfits as part of plans to lock up the local cable market, thereby leading to a monopoly.
The sale of assets of Entertainment Systems Limited, one of the Corporate Area’s larger cable outfits, and the eighth such acquisition by FLOW, is now on hold as the Broadcasting Commission obtained an injunction against both entities on February 20 and lasting for 14 days.
As long ago as 2002, the Broadcasting Commission granted a national wireless licence to an operating company in Jamaica called N5, which did not perform, leading to the revocation of their licence, and then the incoming licensing of FLOW.
In a recent interview, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Hopeton Dunn assured that one of the recommendations currently being contemplated, so as to allay concerns, is an additional islandwide broadcaster, utilizing wireless technology, which would provide consumers with an option, in addition to the option provided by wired providers as well as those at the national and those at the zonal and smaller levels.