Flow Is The Culprit

Melissa Edwards, Senior Reporter | 2 Opinions
Published: June 16, 2017 7:28 am AST
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
A legislator went after telecommunication giant, FLOW, as he sought to ascertain when legislation will be brought to allow local number portability in the Territory.

"The number of numbers we have in this Territory, if I put it on a piece of paper, it could fold in one pocket. Big United States, a whole lot of other industrialized countries are doing it, and the one culprit which is FLOW, that is the culprit really; you talking about carriers?" lamented Hon. Julian Fraser.

The Third District Representative and Opposition Member, was at the time questioning Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works in the House of Assembly this week.

Minister Vanterpool said that the Ministry is currently conducting research on local number portability, which includes both technical and non-technical aspects, to make it functional; required legislative amendment, where possible; and potential cost implications.

"Once this research has been completed, a decision will be made to determine whether or not to pursue this initiative as a Territory," he said.

Hon. Fraser asked what kind of research they are doing, noting that it is something which is routine throughout the rest of the world, especially the developed world.

"You are either going to do it or not going to do it.”

However, Hon. Vanterpool said that as Minister, he supports such a move, but for the last year they have been in discussions with providers and Caribbean counterparts.

"…It's not as simple as it sounds, because it involves the carriers who have numbers that they consider specific to them, and therefore, they will have to make adjustments for those numbers to be used across carriers; the codes that they use. It's not impossible, but it has implications," Minister Vanterpool said.

He added, "…We have been discussing the matter at the regional level…So carriers will have to be forced to confer with the possibility of it…We are pursuing it and I believe it will happen...So we intend to bring legislation along this line."

"I like the Minister, but find it very difficult to listen to this; regional?...The Minister of Communications needs to work with the people of this Territory. Where there is no vision, the people perish," Hon. Fraser said.

He added, "We have to get this thing done. It's not a matter of regional, but it's local."

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