STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
ON THE STATE OF INTERNET SERVICES IN THE TERRITORY
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2019
It is self-evident that a modern communication network is crucial for the development of every economy, including here in the British Virgin Islands.
More crucially, given that our economy is largely based on tourism and financial services, the need for reliable, efficient and relatively inexpensive communication system are key ingredients for growth and development.
Given the reality of the modern day economy, the Government of the British Virgin Islands wants to encourage private sector investment and development of the communications architecture here.
But in this regard we want partners who understand the developmental needs, and who understand that by making communication reliable and affordable, it helps grow the market in which they are operating, ultimately broadening their base in the long term and increasing their profitability.
The people of the Virgin Islands and those we do business with have become very concerned about (a) the reliability of our internet services and (b) the cost of it.
The current state of affairs is hampering our economic growth.
Studies have shown, we in the BVI also have one of the most expensive internet services in the region.
Neighbouring islands with similar potential customer base are blessed with more reliable services and at far less the cost that we have had to bear here.
In some cases, taking into consideration exchange rates, our customers are paying four times the cost for the same type of service as in some of the other islands of the region.
Adding insult to injury, our people on a regular basis have had to endure regular outages, and many reports of consequent poor customer services.
My office will inform the local regulatory authorities to look into this matter immediately.
Additionally, as the Minister responsible for Telecommunication Services, I intend to call an urgent meeting with the heads of the telecommunications companies operating in the Territory to address what we view as a technological crisis. The meeting with all the relevant stakeholders in the telecommunication industry and the Premier will be sought forthwith.
I will inform all of the people of the BVI subsequently of the outcome of this endeavor.
We need all hands on deck to confront this challenge and solve the problems for the benefit of our people and the national economy. The cries of our people in this area will not go unheard and unaddressed any longer.
Together we will persevere until the BVI, in the not too distant future, experiences better internet and other telecom services.