Telecoms Bill returns to National Assembly next month

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2016, 6:29 by Denis Chabrol

After months of consultations with a number of stakeholders, the Telecommunications Bill is expected to be tabled again in Guyana’s National Assembly by the end of May 2016.

This was disclosed by Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes during a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).

“There were extensive discussions so what we want to do is to bring the legislation to the parliament as soon as we can, and we are working on that. I do not have a date yet, but I would envision it would be probably before the end of May.”

Once passed, the Bill will specifically address the expansion of telecommunications services into remote areas.

However, Minister Hughes pointed out that final adjustments are being made to the Bill by way of consultations between cellphone companies Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) and Digicel Guyana.

The passage of the Bill will allow Guyanese the opportunity to enjoy better telecommunications services, and wider and faster internet bandwidth.

Meanwhile, Minister Hughes noted that her Ministry is working with the telecommunications service providers to deliver enhanced services for visitors for the Jubilee celebrations.

The Minister explained that many people have already indicated that they are coming to celebrate Guyana’s 50th independence anniversary, hence there is a need to make them comfortable.

“We are working with the telecommunications companies to ensure that visitors are able to use their phones and will be able to have the technical support that they require,” Minister Hughes added.

The Bill is being crafted to build a competitive system in the telecommunications sector, and is expected to result in greater choice, better quality of service and lower prices for consumers. This will provide for an open, liberalised sector that will attract new markets and investors.

The Telecommunications Bill was introduced in 2011 and revised in 2013 in the 10th parliament. In 2015, Cabinet approved for two legal consultants to be hired to fine- tune and make adjustments to the Bill.