The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) is looking improve the regulatory environment in the region’s telecommunications markets, with a clear focus on strengthening rules governing the behaviour of service providers, in a bid to drive competition in the post-liberalisation age. At its 29th meeting, held on 24 April this year, ECTEL’s council of ministers approved the passing of the new draft Electronic Communications Bill (EC Bill), which includes improved provisions to address anti-competitive behaviour in the market, and also includes provisions for increasing access to the telecoms networks and infrastructure of service providers. It also contains clearer processes for dispute resolution, a statement read. The council has now agreed that the draft EC Bill be forwarded to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Legal Affairs Committee for its consideration. Further, ECTEL ministers also discussed the impact of a recent wave of mergers and joint alliances in the region’s telecoms market (for the provision of wholesale and retail telecommunications services), and expressed concerns over the ‘potential impact of this trend on the competitive environment, and in particular, on the choices available to consumers’.
ECTEL is responsible for the formulation of policy on the regulation and development of the telecoms markets in Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.