ICTA gets tough on licensees

| 06/05/2016 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service

Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure

(CNS): For the first time since the regulator was established, the Information and Communications Authority (ICTA) has issued a fine to one of its licensees for breaching the rules regarding 911 outages. Cable and Wireless paid a $75,000 fine for failing to notify ICTA of an outage on its service that impacted access to 911. But this is just the beginning, according to the minister responsible, as changes to the ICTA law provide for $500,000 administrative fines and $25,000 daily penalties to address the problem of communication providers simply ignoring the authority’s directives.

During the debate this week in the Legislative Assembly on the new legislation that increases the fines, Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts said that there were more changes coming to the telecoms and ICT regulatory regime, as he lauded the work of the new director, who, he said, had already begun to make a difference.

The Information and Communications Technology Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Tibbetts said the sector had previously treated the regulator with “disdain” and were not “paying any mind” to decisions by the board.

But with multiple problems in the sector and more than two dozen major recorded outages over last two years, the authority had to clamp down. Tibbetts said that, as a jurisdiction recognised as a global financial centre, Cayman had to compete effectively and it went without saying that it needed reliable high quality telecommunications.

The increase in the size of the maximum penalties to half a million dollars and a daily cumulative penalty would “get the attention” of the industry, the minister said. He added that licensees have become accustomed to a lack of enforcement by the ICTA but it was “fair to say that those days are over”.

As the catalogue of complaints about the telecoms industry in Cayman were aired by MLAs, including the issue of customers not receiving the internet speeds or phone coverage that they are paying for, Tibbetts revealed that while the government was clamping down on providers. it would be investing around $1 million in dealing with IT security and upgrading systems, including 911.

He pointed out that when liberalisation of markets and competition failed, the regulator has to step in and make sure consumers get what they are paying for, and with a new consumer division at the ICTA, they have drafted a set of consumer relations, which will be reviewed by Cabinet shortly as the new regulatory regime takes shape. Another Cabinet paper, expected shortly, will mandate that telecoms providers must keep equipment here in Cayman to cut the number of outages.

The recent problems between some internet providers rollout of fibre optic and the ‘pole attachment dispute’ with CUC offshoot company, Datalink, have been resolved recently by the ICTA, paving the way for things to get moving.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It will never be enforced just like the other crap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, didn’t know Mr Kurt was still in LA

  3. Just saying says:

    This is a good start in the right direction so now please start fining CUC.

  4. Anonymous says:

    kurt did something?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I, also, am in a state of utter shock. My wife has urged restraint, but I am compelled to forge ahead and say that this just goes to show, if you pay some politicians handsomely for decades, they do actually (eventually) act in the best interests of those who pay them handsomely every month. So all those fellow cynics out there, take heed, all is not lost, and Kurt is (at long last) leading the charge, God bless him!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else experiencing a sharp ramp-up in spam SMS texts in last week? CreativeTec, 3FourFive, Scotiabank…all coming from USA-based numbers to circumvent ICTA rules. Someone with access to telecom customer lists, is selling this aggressive spam service locally. They need to be shut down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I noticed about 3 months ago 2 or 3 local companies were getting cleverly aggressive with e mails.
      None as obnoxious as CableLimeFlowLimeWireFlow (or whatever there name is this week). My own phone and Internet providers spam me mercilessly by text and now somehow parasiting 2 of my news apps. There f’ing noisy add for the annual ‘anal bumping parade’ launches automatically while I am reading the news. This really sucks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Friend, you are way too heavily embracing of all this new technology stuff. My advise is to stick to a wireless, a basic TV package, and a cheap watch that tells you the time (and most importantly, for me at least, the day of the week).

        • Anonymous says:

          I’ll ditch my iPhone, you ditch your watch. We’ll meet for coffee. I’ll tell you what day it is and you can give me the time. Thursday at 9:30?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great idea. Now let’s see if phone bills rise to cover the cost….

  7. Anonymous says:

    More election rhetoric. Nothing will ever happen because this is the Cayman Islands!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is all very welcome but…… Your emergency responders are still operating on a radio system which is unacceptable. There are more dead zones on the island than there are not. Not being able to communicate with other units or 911 when on emergency calls is the norm and is dangerous. I would appreciate these committees taking the time to look at this and make the necessary upgrades that are needed. I know it is an expensive venture that most really wouldn’t notice but to those of us who are out there day, night, rain, shine, or hurricane it would be nice to know that if we need help or other resources that we can call for them.
    Thank you

  9. Perry says:

    But wait civil servants never enforce laws. Those incompetent civil servants got it right again.

  10. Anonymous says:

    About damn time!! Now let’s see it enforced please.

  11. Bluff Patrol says:

    Thank you Alee and ICTA. Lack of high speed internet at reasonable prices is holding back Cayman’s potential.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lime and Cable Flow needs to change their name again. It’s not often you see someone running from their brand but in their case I say change, change, change as fast as you can.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please include Cuc in your fines for not providing good customer service. Charge them $25,000 Ci per hour for outages.
    Lime (flow ) made millions over the years from the Cayman people . Cayman will never see or experience 4G coverage.
    Changes to the law will not change these companies mind set for delivering poor products or services.
    When banks start to pack up and leave because the 2g Internet service then and only theneed will these blind law makers realize.
    Laws don’t change people inforcement does.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Tibbetts! Finally!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I bet Kurt wouldn’t DARE put penalties on CUC or Brac Power & Light!!

    This is just more PRETEND regulation.

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