One day after the government announced the full liberalisation of the telecoms sector, the Guyana Telephone Telegraph company (GTT) says it has embarked on “planned service enhancements” which would see consumers benefitting from improved services and new technologies.
“We expect that with our planned service enhancements, our customers will not be able to discern the difference in service, whether they are in New York or Guyana,” Chief Executive Officer Justin Nedd said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
“As always, we stand ready to provide reliable connectivity, new services and technologies that allow our consumers and businesses alike to thrive and support the growing Guyanese economy,” the GTT boss added.
According to Nedd, GTT has been serving Guyana and supporting the evolution of the country for thirty years.
On Monday evening, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who is the subject Minister with responsibility for telecommunications, announced that Government has issued Commencement Orders, fully bringing into force the Telecommunications Act 2016 (the “Act”) and the Public Utilities Commission Act 2016.
This in effect brought to an end the monopoly held by GTT for over thirty years.
Phillips said that the commencement of these Acts is “nothing less than historic”, aligning Guyana’s telecommunications regime to those found in other countries in the world, including most Caribbean countries, ending a 30-year-old anti-competitive telecommunications monopoly, “that has left Guyanese weary, frustrated and lagging behind in the telecommunications arena.”
“It is anticipated that Guyanese will feel an immediate positive impact from the implementation of these legislation, which create a modern and competitive environment for telecommunications, and which will immediately result in greater choices, better quality of service and lower prices for consumers, while at the same time ensuring that all operators continue to enjoy all benefits conferred under the old legislative regime,” Phillips said in his statement.
This decisive step, he noted, is consistent with “Government’s vision of furthering national and regional social and economic development. The legislation specifically addresses the expansion of telecommunications networks and services into unserved and underserved areas through the institution of a new universal access/universal services programme.”
The Telecommunications Act 2016 was first laid by the Government in the 9th Parliament in August 2011, and laid again in the 10th Parliament in 2012, after extensive consultations with both the public and operators.
During the life of both Parliaments, the Act enjoyed commendable bipartisan support. It spent considerable time before a select committee, chaired by Carl Greenidge, and included Former Prime Minister Samuels Hinds, and then Minister Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
The Act was finalised before the 2015 elections and was enacted by the coalition Government in 2016 by Minister Catherine Hughes, again with bipartisan support.