Local cable TV company E-Networks appears to have been granted permission by the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) to engage in preparatory works for the laying of a subsea cable but the Ministry of Public Telecommunications is maintaining that the company has not been licensed to lay and land a subsea cable system.
Stabroek News reached out to E-Networks for comment on the situation but up to press time no one could be reached for comment.
A notice to mariners dated July 24 has been appearing in the local press over the last few days under the signature of Harbour Master Michael Tennant. The notice advises that on July 31 IT International Telecom Canada Inc. will commence a survey exercise on behalf of E-Networks Inc. as preparatory works for a subsea cable laying project within the Guyana Maritime Zone.
It also notes that the exercise is scheduled for a two-month period at a drill site approximately 23.1 nautical miles from the coast of Guyana and covers an area of 10 square kilometres. Mariners have been advised to stay clear of the two vessels M/V Fugro Discovery and M/V Expert Surveyor and navigate with caution when in the vicinity.
However, a press statement issued by the Ministry yesterday said that applications for licences to lay and land subsea cable systems and/or other major telecommunications operations by any entity that does not currently hold a telecommunications licence will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act, 2016.
Section 23 (9) (a) of the Act specifies that a person who intends to land, install or operate any submarine or terrestrial cable for the purpose of connecting to a cable, other facility or telecommunication network outside of Guyana shall first obtain an individual licence or if that person has already been granted an individual licence shall first obtain an amendment to such individual licence expressly authorizing the landing, installation, or operation of any such cable.