Telecom woes: Jamaicans can help

Letters to the Editor

Telecom woes: Jamaicans can help

Monday, November 18, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Jamaican companies can help to solve the telecoms crisis with competition — the best way to improve both service quality and pricing.

Even with the best intentions, foreign-owned entities operate in multiple countries and have alternatives and competing priorities. We, however, even while profit-driven, have an innate and impatient incentive to improve the quality of life where we live and raise our families.

Earlier this year we launched a trial of ReadyNET Internet service, which would provide an alternative and, in many cases, the only available data service. Previously deprived communities of Mullet Hall in the Buff Bay Valley and Kenilworth in Hanover Whatsapped away on their smartphones, even while some of the supposedly more privileged communities of Kingston and other urban areas suffered.

We can't solve all telecoms woes, but we can contribute to the solution and are more than willing to serve areas not considered “economic” by the big two. If only the regulators would issue us our licence and allow us to roll out.

The silence from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on the status of our licence application is ominous given recent statements by the minister, which seemed to suggest a focus on asking existing telecommunications providers to improve, rather than introducing new competitors. That would be a mistake.

Most recently, amongst the constant throng of requests, we received a letter from a hotelier enquiring about ReadyNET. He continues to lose guests every week because of poor Internet service and Wi-Fi access — now considered by visitors an absolute must-have, like food, water and beach. For months he pleaded with his current service provider to improve, but he continues to make refunds to guests at an alarming rate all because of poor data service.

Let's not wait for the crisis to cripple our precious tourism industry too. Allow Jamaican companies reasonable access to licences to deliver Internet services, even while we plead our case with the big two.

Chris Dehring

Co-chief executive officer


Portmore, St Catherine

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