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Aug 26, 2011

SMART and Telemedia sign interconnection agreement

SpeedNet and Belize Telemedia executives penned their signatures to a major accord this afternoon.  Last year in the height of a telecom war, B.T.L. removed Smart from its international circuits claiming that there was no valid agreement to host SMART. SMART went to court and finally today an interconnection agreement was signed at the offices of the PUC to allow Smart to turn on the switch to improve services and remove any reliance from Telemedia. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

SMART and B.T.L.’s disagreement on interconnection was made public in commercials. An agreement was penned today and SpeedNet’s C.E.O. laid out the legal hurdles which persisted for a year.

Ernesto Torres, C.E.O., SpeedNet Communications

“There was a ruling of the Supreme Court on the thirty-first of March and part of that ruling was that the agreements that were signed in February 2004 were legally unenforceable. The orders of the court also mandated that the two parties negotiate new agreements. We tried to do that in good faith and regrettably both parties were not able to reach full agreement, but there was agreement even during that period and also during the mediation exercise that took place in January and February—significant improvement was made in terms of reaching consensus on what the agreement should have. It was then left to the P.U.C. to step in and provide the terms and conditions of new agreement and that’s what happened.”

John Avery

P.U.C.’s John Avery cited the reasons why there shouldn’t be future problems about interconnection or upgrades.

John Avery, Chairman, P.U.C.

“In the future, if SpeedNet wants to upgrade or change any of its equipment, it can do so without having to engage B.T.L. If this was done from the first instance, there would not have been any problem. But this was not done. SpeedNet basically had its switches installed on B.T.L.’s property and B.T.L.’s property is B.T.L.’s property so you cannot dictate to someone on what terms you will use their property; they have some right to decide what terms they would offer for you to use their property. So we understand now that SpeedNet is placing its switch off B.T.L.’s compound and so hopefully in the future if they have any need to upgrade or alter or whatever, they will not have to rely on any action on B.T.L.’s part to do so. B.T.L. never discontinued interconnection. We do not require that any licensee provide more than one point of interconnection. We don’t prevent them from doing it, but we don’t require that they do it either. You can communicate between networks with one point of interconnection. This thing is the initial interconnection arrangement was done on B.T.L.’s property and so it did not allow for SpeedNet to just at any time do whatever it wanted with its side of the interconnection.”

Ernesto Torres

Ernesto Torres

“The agreement now puts aside any further reference or reliance on previous agreements. We now have an agreement that is sanctioned and approved by the P.U.C. and therefore from our standpoint, we don’t see any reason for further delays in interconnecting the SpeedNet new 3G network. For the man on the street and the SpeedNet customers, it means then that it should not take more than a few days to get this interconnection now finally done. In fact we as early as Thursday, we wrote to B.T.L. saying that we have signed this agreement and we are now in a position to move ahead. On Tuesday we actually sent to the P.U.C. on their instruction a signed agreement only to be told well we’re now going to sign now on Friday. But be that as it may, the agreement now removes, should remove, any potential for further delays and let the customer out their decide the service that it wants and in the case of our customers, to make sure that we get rid of the congestion and the delays as you know in SMS which with this new network; with three and a half to four times the capacity will let us.”

There are other tech savvy SMART services on the way.

Ernesto Torres

“We still believe we have the best prices when you compare with our competitor. As you know we are in the process of testing our high speed mobile internet because that is not interconnection dependent. We are in the field trial with what we call several friendly users and we are going to launch that very shortly—in September, early October. So as far as we are concerned, you will see the difference.”

With a handshake from both the dominant and the Smart provider, interconnection, in theory, is accomplished. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

According to the P.U.C., the agreement takes immediate effect and both parties are expected to comply with its terms.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “SMART and Telemedia sign interconnection agreement”

  1. Hill says:

    Hope Smart offers better speed with a more reasonable price

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