Bureau addresses competition between satellite and cable providers

POSTED: 02/13/12 3:24 PM

St. Maarten – Director of Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten Peggy Ann Brandon announced Friday that they are preparing quality of service standards for all participants in the telecommunications and broadcasting that address an imbalance between companies that provides satellites and license holders i.e. cable companies. The specific concern in the bureau and among the license holders is the television provisioning through satellites direct competition with the television provisioning by license holders on St. Maarten.

License holders on St. Maarten are obligated to pay annual license fees for their right to offer services on St. Maarten and have to comply with conditions of their license that stipulate that they must be in possession of an agreement for each channel offered on St. Maarten. that has proven to be a problem resulting in the license holders not being permitted to offer certain channels. Any channel offered without an agreement and payment of royalties will result in huge damage claims, for which the country can be held responsible. Satellite providers who sell the hardware (satellite dishes and boxes) do not fall under any regulation, whilst a license is required for anyone or entity that provides content/programming on St. Maarten.

“The BTPSXM shall therefore focus on addressing the problems faced by the license holders on St. Maarten and formulate recommendations to the Minister on how to address these problems. The aim is to ensure that the product offered by the license holders meets the quality of service standards and is accessible to all on St. Maarten. Having excellent television provisioning on St. Maarten will benefit the people of St. Maarten and will support the further economic growth of the country,” Brandon stated in a release.

The development of this policy is part of the bureau’s broader mandate to support and advise the Minister of Tourism Economics Affairs Traffic and Telecommunications on matters and policies relating to these industries.

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