Jean Marie Guillaume, director general of Haitian telecoms regulator Conseil National des Telecommunications (Conatel), has ordered domestic cellco Digicel to restore access to third-party voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) application services over its network, with the exception of those using ‘local numbers’ as a customer identifier. According to Haiti Libre, Conatel said that although it fully understands the need for operators to take certain measures to protect their investment and prevent the dangers of fraudulent telephone traffic associated with VoIP services, in accordance with Articles 3, 4, 20 and 79 of the Telecommunications Act (12 October 1977) and Article 7 of the Organic Law of Conatel, the watchdog is the only executive body in Haiti that has the authority to determine the circumstances and conditions in which applications or telecoms services may be suspended or suppressed. Digicel responded by announcing ‘an immediate lift of the block on all suspended VoIP applications, with the important exception of those using local numbers as customer identifier.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 17 June 2014 Digicel Haiti said that a number of ‘unauthorised’ VoIP applications had been blocked by its network. The operator noted that VoIP applications such as Viber, Tango and Nimbuzz do not pay contributions for routing their traffic over telecoms operators’ networks. Digicel said that it ‘was forced to take effective measures and hopes that other operators will follow suit in Haiti’. Further, the cellco revealed that negotiations with VoIP providers were ongoing, and noted that it hoped the blocking measures would be temporary.