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Sep 22, 2011

Barrow says lower electricity rates and internet GST gone

Dean Barrow

The Independence Day ceremony was also an opportunity for PM Barrow to make announcements about the two recently acquired utility companies. Barrow accused Fortis, the former owner of Belize Electricity Limited, of making artificial costs by buying equipment that wasn’t used. He promised to lower electricity rates and to waive General Sales Tax from internet services.

Dean Barrow

“Telemedia will, on October first, give both greater Internet access and a lower price to Belizeans. Currently the minimum amount of bandwidth that can be purchased is two hundred and fifty six kilobits per second for one hundred dollars per month, plus GST. Now the company will offer one hundred and twenty-eight kilobits per second at the rock bottom cost of just forty-nine dollars per month. But there is more. As a special thirtieth anniversary gift, government will remove the GST on internet services. We will thus forgo two million dollars in annual revenue. But it will be worth it. Currently, the fourteen or fifteen percent rate of internet penetration in Belize is among the lowest within our country peer group. Also on October first, the international dialing rates using the 10-10-199 service will be reduced by an average of twenty-five percent to the fifteen countries that Belizeans most frequently call. The list includes the United States of America, Central America, the Caribbean, and China.  Turning to B.E.L., I can say that on Thursday last the new, Government- controlled Board of Directors officially renounced the Fortis demand for our people to pay higher electricity rates. We were told prior to the sovereign acquisition, that Fortis required an immediate rate increase in order to avoid the certain collapse of B.E.L. But Belizeans have now taken over, and there is no way to sugarcoat what we found. Fortis was consistently inflating B.E.L.’s asset base and engaging in wasteful capital spending. This was in order to manufacture artificial pass-through costs and justify unwarranted rates of returns.  Those sharp practices have also been stopped by the new, Belizean-owned B.E.L. And that is why there will be nohike in your electricity bills. Not now, not ever—under this administration. In fact, barring any emergencies, we actually expect to lower rates at the time of the next full tariff review.  That is correct: light bills are going to go down!”

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 “Barrow says lower electricity rates and internet GST gone”

  1. Fact check says:

    if you are now buying 256 for 100 dollars, BTL will now offer 128 for 49 dollars, that’s a whooping savings of ONE DOLLAR. and at a speed of 128 all you see on the internet are two words BUFFERRING and DOWNLOADING>>
    you will save a dollar on internet service but your electricity bill will go up 20 dollars for the time you spend trying to get work done on the web.

  2. Hill says:

    @Fact check, that’s so true haha!!! 128kbit is unacceptable. if u have 128kbit dont even bother to watch youtube or any other online vids. i dont know why internet is so expensive in Belize

  3. O. Walk observer says:

    It is really a shame from Dean to propose this scheme since all the infrastructure for Telemedia is already in place and it will not cost them any additional amount to provide Belizeans Internet access at 256kbs for the reduced price of $49.00 than the other LOUSY service of 128, it is just BANDWITH. Just like reducing international calling rates or having weekly Double/triple up, the company gains instead of loosing since people will talk more and use the service that is already in place.

  4. Ranto says:

    Good analysis…. This Prime Minister truly believes we are that stupid!

    If they can only give free internet access to all Belizeans, the online shopping can boost in Belize. I think banks and postal services should pursue this.

  5. Eye In The Sky says:

    What a JOKE. SLOW Internet for $100. And even SLOWER Internet for $49.
    You think we Belizean da Lone Fool or what?
    Barrow give us 20 Mbs for $40 and allow VOIP like in USA, Canada, mexico and rest of the Free World.

  6. Michael says:

    What they should have done is lower the price of the existing 256 kbps so that people could truly experience and utilize the web.

  7. Common Sense says:

    Come on Belizeans– half price for half the service!
    nothing as changes six of one and half a dozen of the other!!!!!

    same foolishness!!! if he would have drop the cost by 30-45 % then he really saying something new!!!!!!!!

  8. OW says:

    Is this a Joke 128kbs @ $49.00 c’mon Mr Prime Minister we are not living in the 90′s when that was the fastest internet speed we could have gotten. If you want to sweet up the people with that im sorry to burst your bubble, If according to you BTL is for the benefit of the people then lower the Internet (1MEG 2MEG 3MEG……..) like other countries do.

  9. S King says:

    Are you kidding? This reason is why a lot of my internet business friends won’t come to your country. We can’t run our business on 1M, and 256K…what? That is the dark ages. And now you are offering 128K… you can’t do ANYTHING with that.

    Perhaps PM thinks that most Belizians are drunk on rum punch….which is the only way you’d convince people that this is a good plan.

    In fact, I couldn’t even post this until I tried 3 times.

  10. Liberty and Freedom says:

    One giant step for GOB; one small step for the average Belizean. Why not issue free 56k modems and charge $29.95 per month. If cable companies offered that kind of bandwidth, everyone would have the old “rabbit ear” TV antennae…..

  11. PVV says:

    I am Russian an was considering moving to Belize! But i surely will NOT! I am now paying 25$ a month for 54Mb/s with unlimited traffic + 104 tv chanels + Dr.Web anivirus =) The prices they offer are a ripoff!

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