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Wheatley slams Gov’t over number portability delay

Friday, March 07, 2014    

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DR Andrew Wheatley, the Opposition spokesperson on ICT and digital economy, has described as "unacceptable', the Government's recent announcement of a fourth shift in the deadline of the implementation of the much-touted number portability programme.

Commenting on the recent statement by state minister Julian Robinson, that number portability implementation will be completed by the end of 2014, Wheatley said, "One is forced to question if number portability will be implemented at all given these latest utterances by Minister Robinson".

Dr Wheatley noted that Robinson's announcement represented the fourth delay after several "grand announcements and self-imposed deadlines" coming from the Government.

"Minister (Phillip) Paulwell first announced the completion of number portability by the end of 2012, then by the end of 2013 and then again at the end of May 2014. In fact, the ministry's own ICT road map, as presented by state minister Robinson in his 2013 sectoral presentation, projected completion by the end of this fiscal year," he said. "There is an obvious disconnect between both ministers' understanding of what is required to make number portability a reality and what is being pitched to the Jamaican people," he added.

Dr Wheatley, in the meantime, urged that the Government give details of the process to realise number portability with trustworthy deadlines set and realised. "Let me also state that this continued uncertainty does not bode well for the possibility of a new entrant to the telecoms market and sends the wrong signals to potential investors in this space," said the Opposition spokesman.

It is critical, he said, that the Government build trust from the public and investors in their ability to deliver on this matter, given the clear need for continued dependable provision of quality telecom services, and a vibrant competitive telecoms market.

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