The government of Bermuda has given its permission for domestic voice and data services provider Quantum to be 100% foreign owned, paving the way for it to be snapped up by the country’s international service provider LinkBermuda (formerly Cable & Wireless). LinkBermuda already owns 40% of Quantum and has confirmed its intention to buy out the remaining 60% of its fellow carrier which connects Bermudan customers to international carriers, internet service providers (ISPs) and others providers. The company uses a fibre-optic network that interconnects more than 130 buildings in Hamilton, with service extensions through Devonshire eastward towards Southside. Quantum’s voice services are delivered via a voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) network switch.
The Royal Gazette newspaper notes that the decision to grant Quantum with a 114B licence, allowing for its sale to a foreign owner, forms a small part of the government’s long standing plans for regulatory reform. LinkBermuda COO Miller Williams said: ‘LinkBermuda is very encouraged by this action and other recent government actions that will change the regulatory environment in which Quantum and LinkBermuda operate … As soon as there is regulatory certainty LinkBermuda will announce its intentions to better serve Bermuda.’ As it stands, the 114B licence forbids any bundling of the two companies’ services – a nod to last year’s telecoms controversy when Digicel Bermuda launched a contentious long-distance telephony service through its ISP Transact; the dispute over Digicel’s long-distance service is now before the Telecoms Commission and a decision is due this month.
Once Bermuda has reformed its legislative framework, it is hoped that domestic carriers will be able to offer a so-called ‘one-stop-shop’ for all communications services. In December 2011 the government passed new legislation to end the current licensing regime, but as of today it remains unclear when the new Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will begin to issue operators with a universal licence.