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Feb 13, 2012

VoIP in limited format someday

Dean Barrow

Internet based phone services such as Net2phone, Viber, Skype, and Vonage have driven phone costs down internationally since they provide a certain quality without using regular providers. In Belize these services would only be a fraction of what is charged by SMART and Telemedia, and businesses will tell you that VOIP programs are the future of efficiency. But those programs have been blocked along with less used services such as Google chat within Google’s Gmail service. In opposition, the U.D.P. had promised that it would introduce VOIP, but it is now an issue that the Barrow administration is finding hard to grapple with since it would mean the state controlled Telemedia would see a significant drop in profits from international calls. This morning the PM said that the government will allow a limited implementation of VOIP, but he couldn’t say when.

Dean Barrow

“The chairman of Telemedia has convened a working group of members of the board and members of the staff. They are very busy forming up the proposal, which as I understand will see a limited implementation of VoIP in two phases—initially with respect to fixed lines and thereafter with respect to cell phones.”

Jules Vasquez

“Perhaps I don’t know enough of this, but the main way I thought people use VoIP was on Skype which is computer based.”

Dean Barrow

“Well if you don’t know enough about it technically, I will confess to even greater ignorance. And so if I misspoke in regards to what’s technically possible just now, I apologize. All I can say with certainty is that the chairman is determined is determine that VoIP—in a limited form; I do stress that—is going to be introduced sooner rather than later. I don’t know of the exact timeline, but I’m sure that he will be very willing to talk about that. That’s why I said it would be a limited form of VoIP and that’s why there is this study group as it were to see what is possible; what is feasible. I made the point that we haven’t yet finalized the compensation issue and to some extent, you don’t want to go too far with VoIP which will without a doubt affect the profitability of the company before you know what you are in for with compensation. We know what our experts have said, but until there is a court determination or some other impartial determination, I hope and expect that Belizeans will see with us when we say quite clearly it can’t be wholesale introduction of VoIP.”

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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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11 Responses for “VoIP in limited format someday”

  1. Eye In The Sky says:

    Give us VOIP and minimum 20 Mbps Internet and I along with many others will vote UDP in March if not I and many others will vote PUP.

  2. Christine says:

    Government controlling things, again. Why block the free chat sights? So poor ppl can spend what little money they have to speak to family abroad?
    Proud Belizean…not living in Belize. Thank God

  3. Phacetious Plebbe says:

    I understand the Prime Minister’s dilemma. Prior to the government’s acquisition of BTL, it mattered not, because the government had no dog in the fight. Now, they have the biggest dog in that fight. I think though, that there is some middle ground.

    I think they should team up with a service such as Skype, or Google Voice, to allow for those lower rates to reach the consumers, which in turn would see increased usage of the facility. In essence, using what I like to call “Chinese business strategy”, effectively lowering prices, which would lower profit margins, but would increase business volume and ultimately, increase profit. 100% of the profit on a $20 million pie is still less than 50% of a $100 million pie, anyway you slice it. I think Skype would be amenable to some sort of an arrangement, and I know that Google Voice might be willing to give it a try.

    BTL would probably have a spinoff profitability in the increased visibility in the value of its brand, being now Google powered, as the basis of the Google Voice setup.

    I think I may have just given the Chairman of Telemedia a good enough proposal that he can work with…I think.

  4. Josephino Estroberto Pesomedio says:

    Read carefully what barrow said, politico .

  5. BT says:

    Telco’s worldwide remain hugely profitable despite VoIP. They adapt, and adjust their business model and realize that the need to market new technology to make up for revenue lost on long distance telephone. The problem with BTL is they refuse to realize that it is 2012 and their is no longer a viable market for a business that expects to make massive profits by selling international phone calls for $1.50 per minute. That era ended over a decade ago. So instead of fighting VoIP and trying to restrict internet access, GOB/BTL need to embrace new technology, not only for their own bottom line but for the economic and social development of Belize.

    BTL is a dinosaur being run with caveman mentality. Either get with the times, or get out of the way. Internet Computer Technology (ICT) must become a national development priority. Protecting BTL’s archaic business model is seriously hurting this country.

  6. Charlie Price says:


  7. Freetown GYAL says:

    Barrow is a fool, blocking VOIP and sky high internet cost is keeping BELIZE stagnant in development. all of BTL profits is taxation from the people, they earn no foreign exchange. he can see beyond his nose, looking at BTL profit margin. if he allows VOIP there can be so much more FDI . Barrow is not a businessman, has no vision to grow this country. UDP has hand on to BTL coattails from their time in 1984 and they still can’t move forward. ask any business person other than the few feeding at the trough if they can survive another 5 more years of this UDP POLICY. do your own poll.

  8. Inspiration says:

    BT you just summed up why BTL was handed back to GOB and the people, it is a Dinosaur, but it looks good in a campaign to show that you muscled it, Christ it was given back, and people fall for it. Its better to spinoff and form a wireless company. All the land lines should be used to create a balance between profits and social service to the people, until that happens, I will continue to disbelieve the take over was for the people!

  9. dunfedup says:

    Freetown; you talk sense! I agree, do your own poll of real business people and they will tell you that 4 or 5 more years and they will no longer be in business. This government has NO ONE that really understands business. Not one. If they did they would not be suppressing agriculture and other trade the way they are. PUP was not a good choice 4 years age but they are looking much better than what we now know of the UDP. Shortly we will see how badly this administration has fleeced the people of this fine country and then know that we have made the right decision and brought back the PUP. And PUP, keep your nose clean cuz we can vote you in and we can vote you out!

  10. L.C. says:

    Just stopped in to say what BT and Freetown Gyal said. Blocking these things is keeping us in a less informed, stagnant state. Technology changes every day. If you can’t even keep up with what happened YESTERDAY, how can you possibly be prepared for what will happen tomorrow?

    Example: I work in IT for a county office of education in the US. A teacher I work with in the US wanted to set up a Skype call to a school in Belize so her students could learn how life is in a different country. I told her “Unfortunately, because of the way things are in Belize, this isn’t possible. The technology is blocked.” She was sad.

    And this works the other way too. Students in Belize can be introduced to other cultures and ways of living that they may otherwise NEVER get a chance to experience. But because a few people have their hands in the money pot, the opportunity is declined.

    I’m of the opinion that BTL can push out 4x or 5x the bandwidth that they are currently pushing out for Internet services. Open the pipes. Let the knowledge flow through.

  11. laughinghyena says:

    Shows the stupidity of governments owning business! Decisions are based on politics and not on business logic. Do Belizeans understand that we owe hundreds of millions for a company that may very well be obsolete in 10 years if not sooner? And if pm was so concerned about the final tally on what we owe, why is he using BTL profits to fund campaign profligacy instead of setting it aside?

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