Telecommunications Minister the Hon. Melford Nicholas is among other regional telecoms Ministers in St. Lucia to discussing a new draft of the Electronic communications Bill (EC Bill).
The new legislation according to information circulated by the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) is to strengthen the rules to consumer rights and ensure that the investment climate remains open and competitive.
The EC Bill contains provisions on changes to the licensing process which will facilitate investment in all the ECTEL Member states, new rules to address some of the competitive issues facing the sector and recommendations on the strengthening of the National Telecoms Regulatory Commission.
The ECTEL Council of Ministers will consider new quality of service regulations and have initial discussions on consumer protection regulations, retail pricing, wholesale pricing and the sharing of infrastructure, which are currently out for public consultation.
The impact of the merger of Cable & Wireless Communications and Columbus International in light of the impasse in negotiations between ECTEL and the companies will also be addressed.
Minister Nicholas has indicated that with the modernization of Antigua and Barbuda’s telecommunications framework through the passage of a new Telecoms Bill the country’s ranking with the regional body will improve.
Antigua and Barbuda is not yet a member of ECTEL but was granted observer status since 2012.