It was pleasing to read the letter from Michael De Freitas ‘Why has E-networks been allowed to extend its signal but others have not?’ (SN, December 21). It’s simple, the NFMU seems to have no uniformity or policy when it comes to issuing or extending licence and shows glaring inconsistency when it comes to who gets shut down. As a result the only conclusion which can be drawn is that it probably depends on who you know or who you are before you can gain or extend a licence.
Having graduated with a postgrad Certificate (Hons) in Wireless Network-ing with specialization in Wireless Broadband and Voice over IP (VoIP) I thought of starting up a WiMax or LTE based service in Guyana. However, this thought was quickly dashed as I sat putting together my business plan recognising that the risks far outweighed the rewards. Most importantly, precedent said this would not be a good idea, as I’m not politically affiliated.
“The warning issued by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who has responsibility for the telecommunication sector also cautioned other recent start-ups or intended start-ups in Linden, Bartica, and elsewhere, according to a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister. It also warned the operator in Republic Park, East Bank Demerara against extending beyond Nandy Park, Provi-dence and Eccles where the service was frozen in 2001; and forewarned those who are planning to offer or are offering radio and television services on the Internet.” (SN, March 30, 2007). I also remember there were existing service providers in Bartica, Linden and Cor-riverton being told to cease their operations until the relevant licence had been granted. However, up to this time I have not heard of any licences being granted. Did I miss this? It has already been 9 years since the Advisory Commission on Broadcasting (ACB) was established to address this issue and so far we have been unable to present broadcast legislation, let alone enact it. The sad part is the broadcast legislation is the regular excuse used for not granting or extending a licence. Even after Chief Justice Ian Chang issued his ruling on broadcast licences there has been no action by the NFMU and/or the government.
For all the talk about how much is done with reference to technology, there is a lot more which can be done, and it would be very much easier for more to be done if the relevant policies were in place, ensuring a consistent and a level playing field for all.