Media practitioners in Grenada now have a better understanding of the roles and regulatory functions of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), after participating in the first in a series of media clinics to be held across the member states of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL).
The one-day session was held last week Thursday under the theme “Changes in the Regulatory Landscape for Electronic Communications -The Role of ECTEL”, at NTRC headquarters in Grand Anse, St. George.
ECTEL was established on May 4, 2000 by a Treaty signed in St. George’s, by the governments of five (5) Eastern Caribbean States, namely Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
Participants at the media clinic were brought up to speed with the current regulatory landscape, pertinent issues and trends affecting the sector and ECTEL’s role as regulator for the five sovereign states.
Topics discussed included the structure and functions of ECTEL based on the Treaty; structure of the NTRC; broadcasting and spectrum monitoring; the role of the Minister for Telecommunications, the Electronic Communications Sector in the ECTEL Member States and key
trends, indicators, statistics and the role of data in regulation.
Updates were also provided on new regulatory initiatives including the Electronic Communications Bills, Regulations, Roaming and Number Portability.
The Electronic Communications Bill, which will be introduced to the parliaments of ECTEL member states in the near future, seeks to broaden the scope to encompass electronic communications by repealing legislation related to telecommunications in the Telecommunications Act.
It also makes provisions to ensure that licensees do not take advantage of market power for the supply of a service with a view to prevent, restrict or distort competition in the market.
The media personnel was also told about Number Portability (NP) which would enable telephone users to retain their telephone number when changing from one network operator to another.
It is considered to be a key factor in enhancing competition in a multi-operator environment.
Some of the benefits include elimination of the cost of businesses and residential customers of number change and the tedious process of informing others of this change; lowering the cost of switching service providers; more efficient allocation of limited numbering resources and a more level competitive environment, with lowered barriers to entry for new service providers.
ECTEL’s Managing Director, Embert Charles and its Director of Technical Services, Andrew Millet, facilitated the one-day session.