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Cable Bahamas Not Playing Fair?

BTC executives slammed Cable Bahamas Limited (CBL) today for CBL’s “unfair accusations”, especially in light of CBL’s recent “no-show” at one recently scheduled meeting. “It is sadly ironic that CBL would accuse BTC of ’anti-competitive delaying tactics’ when they are the ones who do not show up for meetings,” said the statement from BTC. BTC claims in fact that it had done everything in its power to negotiate in good faith but was continuously faced with unanswered questions, including the no-show at the negotiating table.

The unusually strong statement came on the heels of a news story detailing charges made by Cable Bahamas to the telecom regulator, URCA, claiming that BTC was not cooperating by failing to work expeditiously to facilitate connection to BTC’s network as expected under the new competitive fixed line telephone environment. It was the first public airing of what BTC called “an unnecessary delay” in the path leading to competition that was to take effect immediately with the April 6 sale of the majority shares of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications.

“Far from stonewalling, BTC is, in fact, waiting for a response from Cable Bahamas as to the services it expects to provide in exchange for the services it has requested from us,” the company’s statement said. “BTC requested that information in writing seven times between January 11 and March 22. Only once was a response received, on March 9, for what CBL termed a proposal of services, but the list was, in fact, the list of services CBL would like to take from BTC.”

As the dominant telephone service provider, BTC is required to make its telephone network available to other licensed operators (OLOs) through the framework of a Reference Access and Interconnection Offer (RAIO) that is approved by the regulator and available for sight by the general public.  It is through that RAIO that BTC would negotiate final, costs, terms and conditions with specific operators.

“We have been in negotiations over interconnection-related services since August of 2010,” the statement continued. “We fully understand the importance of these matters. They are critical building blocks in laying the foundation of how we move forward in a competitive environment.

And we are stunned that Cable Bahamas Limited would now complain that we, BTC, has ‘ignored URCA’s decision,’ when it seems that CBL’s definition of ‘meaningful’ as it applies to interconnection negotiations appears to be one in which CBL instructs BTC as to what CBL wants and BTC accedes.”

The statement went on to say that Cable Bahamas failed to show up for a scheduled February 18 meeting set for discussions of the exchange of services and fees.

According to BTC, all parties agreed to start with a ‘work-in-progress’ document.’

“BTC remains willing to negotiate with Cable Bahamas Limited and to conclude the interconnection agreements with CBL as soon as possible.”

Diane Phillips and Associates

Posted in Business

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