“A list of grievances that are without merit”; GT&T responds to PUC’s decision to deny tariff increase

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CEO of GT&T, RK Sharma.
CEO of GT&T, RK Sharma.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) says that the reasons presented by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in its refusal to grant an increase in wire line tariff are “without merit.”

“We have already filed an appeal, and we believe it is essential to keep pushing – after all, Guyana is one of very few countries such as Cuba in the western hemisphere that does not have 3G wireless service.  This is nothing short of baffling. The PUC order is emblematic of the frustrating distance between the government’s words and actions when it comes to modernizing the telecom sector,” GT&T CEO Radha Krishna Sharma said in a statement.
In the statement, the company says that “We would normally be happy to address the specific points the PUC makes – but in this case, the order is really just a list of grievances that are without merit in a modern telecommunications sector.  It is not based on a logical adherence to the law, a reasonable consideration of the voluminous record, or consistent with past PUC decisions and rulings.”

The PUC in its ruling had detailed several reasons for its refusal of GT&T’s application, which includes the company’s inability to provide service in several areas that it was mandated to do under its contract with the government.

“The GT&T explains they are awaiting the grant or release of spectrum to provide the service. The GT&T has been in operation, by way of monopoly, for the past 24 years and yet cannot fulfill that obligation which they undertake when the agreement was signed. There was no condition for the provision of spectrum—and being a monopoly for the land line service they choose to ignore the requests of potential consumers, blaming it on “spectrum,” the ruling read.
However as Sharma explained GT&T has “fulfilled all of our obligations and invested USD$250 million since our last rate change, and more than USD $391 million since our contract began.  The order also reaches strange conclusions, such as using the very frequent rate increases for the power and water utilities as a justification for denying our first request in 15 years for a rate adjustment.  It is also clear that the PUC did not consider the practical effects of its decision, which will force consumers to pay higher long distance rates.”

He said that anyone who reads the PUC order can see that it is really just a laundry list of grievances that are without merit in a modern telecommunications sector. He added that it is not based on a logical adherence to the law, a reasonable consideration of the voluminous record, or consistent with past PUC decisions and rulings.

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