Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Belize needs to do, to stay modern with telecommunications.

What Belize needs to do, in order stay modern with telecommunications.

Telecommunications technology is changing very fast. At the rate of every 12 to 18 months. In order to stay current on the cutting edge and get away from the STAGNATION DECADES of government mismanagement of telecommunications legislation and meddling, a new look at what we need to do about telecommunications.

The CRUX of the matter is centered on one building, the BTL Headquarters building, which houses and owns the ARCOS undersea fiberoptic cable that connects us to the outside world.

The government needs to take THAT building, piece of real estate and the ARCOS terminal and transfer title to an independent GOVERNMENT INSTITUTION. In the process establish a forumula to let all aspiring telecommunications wanna be´s, get equal dibbs on the service from this connection to the outside world. No favors for anyone. Done at minimum possible costs for the service. BTL will have to build a new headquarters set of offices someplace else.

----The reason local start-ups don't do this is because of the restrictive licensing fees, which I think run around $10K BZ to get licensed to sell internet. The fees are designed to discriminate against small businesses. ----

Then you issue your permits and licenses to all and sundry, who wishes to set up a telecommunications company, serving whatever they wish to serve, within Belize. Let the competition that develops run wild, with the importation of the latest equipment settling the market share competition by technology, service and pricing. There is no ONE ANSWER. The technology is changing too fast. Attempts by monopoly and government interference to maintain the STATUS QUO for their own benefit is SELF DEFEATING. The telecommunications technology field is too volatile and must be fluid and allowed to adjust.

Discriminatory politics with fees inhibits competition in Belize.

1. internet
2. phone cards
3. cellular service
4. long distance calls
5. land lines
6. wireless internet
7. anything else..

Small businesses could theoretically compete in each of those sectors at the local level.

Using Caye Caulker as an example, a local Caye Caulker outfit could theoretically purchase a satellite dish and bandwidth from Hughes, let's' just say, and string wire along the BEL lamp posts to re-sell bandwidth to local Caye Caulker customers creating local employment and recirculating money into the local economy.

Btl currently charges $100BZ per month for their most minimal level of service, which in the developed world does not even exist anymore. It is outdated. Plus, they have VoIP blocked.

Cable companies offer local cable service pretty much in this manner all over the country, and they do it quite effectively and efficiently.

The reason local start-ups don't do this is because of the restrictive licensing fees, which I think run around $10K BZ to get licensed to sell internet. The fees are designed to discriminate against small businesses.

So, in Caye Caulker, for example, with a base of let's say 1000 subscribers, $100 x 1000 = $100,000 is the amount the local economy is being deprived of. It goes to Ashcroft instead, who then repatriates it abroad. Local businesses would pay several taxes.

Imagine this being done for each component of telecommunications and just imagine how many new businesses would be spawned. $100,000BZ per month could theoretically support at least four or five small internet companies.

---A local internet cafe could, for example, sell long-distance service via internet telefony for less than 10 cents a minute (US) to anywhere in the world. Anybody can do this, it is included in one's internet connection, but just in case someone did not have internet they could go this route.

This would be an income generator locally, which the cyber cafe would pay taxes on. Of course, they would theoretically have to pay the one cent (their cost of product) in a foreign currency, I get this).

The thing is this, for the local cyber cafe to do this, he has to get licensed for $10K as a telecommunications provider. Maybe Anne can provide more insight on this but the licensing fees are total discrimination against local, small businesses.

So instead, we pay btl four times as much per minute to route our long distance calls through the very same internet telefony outfit the local cyber cafe would use, which btl would also have to pay in a foreign currency.

In essence, btl is a bloated middle man which legislation FORCES local communities to use, bloating costs with no additional benefit to local communities. In fact, to a huge deficit to local communities.

It's all about the licensing fees. ---
LOCAL POLITICAL PARTIES in BELIZE, use the Permit and License fees of government, to steal local businesses and give them to their relatives, or friends, punish perceived political opposition and the net result is choking off business development and GDP growth by increased economic activity and taxes. THE ENEMY OF BELIZE IS THE EXISTING POLITICAL PARTY SYSTEM.


I like your brainstorming....but think about you really believe
that the powers that be can't come up with these great ideas? You think
Ashcroft isn't fully aware that if the GOB really wanted to, there are more than
101 LEGAL ways that they could tell him "fuck you" and get him out the telecom
business or at least break up the monoploy? He has bought and paid for all
these politicians. The last administration and the current one. He manipulates
them with their own greed. You think Godfrey Smith et al will be ready to
support local small businesses if and when they finally get btl back from the
GOB? You think they'll be ready to tell Ashcroft the game his over and he can
take his billions and bounce? The political system in Belize is not designed
nor set up to serve the local masses, the poor, the small man/woman, or small
businesses. They get the crumbs from the table. The PUPs actually run their
campaign on the idea that the masses get more crumbs when they are in office.
The political system is designed to control, manipulate, and skim the wealth of
the nation. Step 1 is to get rid of the political system we have in Belize and
replace it with one that has some semblance at least some checks and balances so
one Party isn't always in control and Independent candidates have a greater shot
and greater voice. Without Step 1,I'm afraid it's useless to come up with any
great ideas.

P.S. What's in the pot on the stove. I'm hungry. :-)

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