The Telecoms Unit was established by the Government of Barbados. The Unit is presently under the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy (MFIE).
Permanent Secretary : Mr. Ronald Bascombe
Chief Telecommunications Officer: Mr. Reginald Bourne
The two offices of the Telecoms Unit are located:
Head Office: Telecommunications Unit
3rd Fl East
Monitoring Station: Gun Hill Monitoring Station
The Mission of the Telecommunications Unit is to facilitate a competitive, fully liberalized telecommunications sector while achieving Government’s vision of making Barbados a centre of excellence for information technology and telecommunications in the Caribbean.
The Telecommunication Unit is the technical arm of the Ministry responsible for Telecommunications. The Unit performs regulatory and licensing functions in accordance with the Telecommunications Act Cap 282B.
The objectives of the Telecommunications Unit are as follows:-
(i) To promote liberalization, competition and transparency in national, regional and international telecommunications operations.
(ii) To ensure that spectrum is made available to all approved applicants, in a timely manner.
(iii) To develop and implement regulatory and monitoring policies aimed at encouraging the growth of a sustainable competitive telecommunications sector.
(iv) To encourage technological innovation and modernization of the switched telecommunications network.
(v) To promote the protection of personal privacy of users and security of transmitted information.
(vi) To ensure policies for the efficient and effective functioning of the telecommunications sector.
(vii) To effectively manage Spectrum, Numbering, Domain names and IP addresses.
To achieve our mission and stated objectives the Telecommunications Unit will work as a team providing quality, innovative and professional work while remaining focused on the goal of ensuring that Barbados is the leader of telecommunication services in the Caribbean.
On the 20th December 2000 the Government of Barbados issued the Green Paper on Telecommunications Sector Policy. The Green Paper outlined Government’s draft policies for the reform of the telecommunications sector in Barbados.
These draft policies provided for the following objectives:
· To introduce competition into the telecommunications sector
· To enhance the technological capabilities of our national and international network
· To implement a modern regulatory framework compatible with the technological and business environment of the 21st century
· To support the expansion of the informatics industry and international business and finance sectors where access to low cost international telecommunications rates is critical to their success.
Barbados as a signatory to the WTO/GATS Agreement on Telecommunications was obligated to reform its telecommunications sector and to transform the existing monopoly telecommunications market into a fully liberalised and competitive one. In pursuit of the WTO/GATS Agreement the Ministry responsible for telecommunications held discussions with Cable & Wireless BARTEL Limited and Cable & Wireless BET Limited to renegotiate their exclusive licences for the provision of domestic and international telecommunications services respectively.
The Government of Barbados and Cable & Wireless BARTEL Limited and Cable & Wireless BET Limited have concluded their negotiations which culminated with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the mentioned parties on October 16th, 2001.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) details the processes for the effective liberalisation of the telecommunications sector. A phased approach to liberalisation has been adopted with liberalisation scheduled to have begun on December 1, 2001 and ending with full liberalisation being achieved on August 1, 2003. These dates were not met, as Phase I did not commence until November 1st, 2002. Phase II commenced on November 16, 2003. Phase III commenced on February 21, 2004. Full liberalisation was attained in February, 2005, when the international telecommunications services market was liberalized.