The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2004 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March 2004. The introductory text of the Bill states :
“These amendments to the Telecommunications Act 2001 purport, inter alia, to bring clarity to provisions considered ambiguous, to encourage investment by creating and sustaining a framework for fair competition and to ensure the availability of quality services at affordable prices; all of the foregoing being required by the International Telecommunications Union and the World Trade Organisation in respect of legislative reform in the telecommunications/ICT industry.”
The Explanatory Notes for modifying the definition of “public telephone service” “..will make it abundantly clear that the Authority will regulate the delivery of all public voice services irrespective of the means used to provide the service (e.g., VOIP)”
Page 3 of the Explanatory Notes for the definition of “value added service” states that : “The existing definition creates ambiguity with respect to the classification of ISPs. Government’s policy requires the regulation of ISPs as public data telecommunications service providers. The revised definition (of value added services) is in accordance with this policy prescription as the definition makes it clearer that value added services are services that provide content and shall not include services by which such content is provided. ……
Various comments/opinions of the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill :
The Telecommunications Amendment Bill, 2004 was passed in the House of Representatives on the 20th April, 2004. It was passed in the Senate with amendments on 18th May 2004. The House of Representatives approved the Senate Amendments on the 26 May 2004. It was assented to on June 14th, 2004.
In early May 2004, the Ministry of Public Administration & Information released a proposed policy “to exempt licensing of systems operating in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Industrial, Scientific & Medical (ISM) Bands for the provision of affordable wireless connectivity and Broadband Internet Access”.
The proposed policy recommends the use of 2.4GHz systems (such as 802.11b, 802.11g, Bluetooth) to be deployed within the constraints of or between the user’s premises for non-third party applications and 5.8GHz systems (such as 802.11a) to be deployed for both public and private network services.
The deadline for comments from the public on this proposed policy was Friday 28th May 2004.
Our main point in the comments on the proposed policy :
The 2.4GHz band should be given the same privileges as the 5.8GHz band and let users/market forces decide which band is more appropriate for their needs. In other words, 2.4GHz systems should be allowed to be deployed for both public and private network services, just like 5.8GHz systems.
Spectrum Plan for Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Services.
In April 2006, the Telecommmunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) published a Spectrum Plan for Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Services for comment. “..This plan proposes spectrum bands based on current wireless access technologies and sets out the approach to be adopted by the Authority towards licensing of these bands.”
In this document, this April 2006 policy states
6.3.4 Individual or user licences will not be required in order to use radiocommunication equipment in the 2.4 GHz band.
6.3.5 Radiocommunication systems using the 2.4 GHz band can be used for both private or public telecommunications networks and services or broadcasting services.
A 2nd version of Spectrum Plan for the Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access Services was posted in July 2006
The Draft Policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry was released for public comment on the Trinidad and Tobago Government’s website in early August 2002 by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Tertiary Education. The Draft Policy includes proposals on the ownership structure of the broadcasting industry, a quota system for local programming content, non-profit and religious broadcasting among other issues.
With the deadline for submissions for comments on October 31st, 2002, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) submitted comments on the Draft National Policy and the Broadcasting Industry.
The Minister of Public Administration and Information announced the National policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry in the Senate on Tuesday 20th January 2004 and was made available for download from the NICT/FastForward website in February 2004.
FastForward was the final name given to the National ICT Technology Plan developed in 2003. It was formally launched in May 2 2003 and had five working groups under a ICT Steering Team under the Ministry of Public Administration and Information. The development of the National ICT Strategy was from May to September 2003 with several public consultations in Trinidad and Tobago and posted online at http://www.nict.gov.tt/
The National ICT Strategy was officially launched in December 2003.
The Vision of the FastForward agenda is :
“Trinidad and Tobago is in a prominent position in the global information society through real and lasting improvements in social, economic and cultural development caused by deployment and usage of information and communication technology.”
The FastForward plan was made available in several chapters :
Introduced in the Senate in February 2001, the Telecommunications Bill establishes a legislative framework for telecommunications and broadcasting services in Trinidad and Tobago, for the purpose of encouraging new providers to enter the market, thereby facilitating competition in the sector. It also provides for the formation of a Telecommunication Authority to monitor and regulate the telecommunication sector.
The Telecommunication Bill was passed with amendments in the Senate in April 2001. The House of Representatives recived the bill in May 2001 and was passed later that month. The Telecommunications Act was officially assented on the 5th July 2001 but only Parts I, II, VII, VIII and X with the exceptions of Sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85 of the bill were in effect from 2001. The remaining parts (Parts III, IV, V, VI and IX and sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84) were proclaimed on June 30 2004.
An interim Telecommunication Authority was set up in July 2002.