27 April 2020


URCA issues Preliminary Determination on the Review of Wholesale Broadband Access Services

Review of Wholesale Broadband Access Services under Sections 39 and 40 of the Communications Act, 2009 (ECS 04/2020)

Today the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (“URCA”) published its provisional findings on the additional wholesale broadband services that The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (‘BTC’) and Cable Bahamas Limited (‘CBL’) must provide to Other Licensed Operators (“OLOs”) in The Bahamas. URCA had previously imposed on BTC and CBL the obligation to provide a broadband resale offer to OLOs. To date, there has been no take-up of the broadband resale offer.  

URCA, however, observed that OLOs in The Bahamas use mainly wholesale Direct Internet Access (DIA) to offer Internet connectivity to their retail customers. As DIA was not previously defined as a part of the broadband market, it is currently unregulated. In the absence of regulation, OLOs have raised concerns about BTC and CBL refusing to supply wholesale DIA services in a timely manner and on fair and reasonable terms or conditions.

URCA conducted this review to explore whether additional regulation should be imposed to facilitate competition in the retail broadband access market. Given their position of economic strength in the relevant markets, URCA proposes to require BTC and CBL to:

  • offer end-to-end wholesale DIA services to OLOs at tariffs set equal to the efficiently incurred underlying costs  of providing the services, with these tariffs being approved by URCA.
  • amend their reference offers to include wholesale DIA services, setting out the tariff and non-price terms and conditions on which their wholesale DIA offers are provided, with these non-price terms being approved by URCA.
  • publish such details prominently on their websites and additionally make such information available in other formats upon request.

The full scope of URCA’s analysis and preliminary findings are contained in the Preliminary Determination.

Copies of URCA’s Final Determination may be downloaded here .

URCA welcomes written comments on or before 27 May 2020. Interested parties will then have the opportunity to further comment on submissions made by other respondents by 30 June 2020.

Written responses or comments on this Preliminary Determination should be sent to URCA’s Chief Executive Officer, either:

  • By hand, to URCA’s office at Frederick House, Frederick Street, Nassau; or
  • By mail, to P.O. Box N-4860, Nassau, Bahamas; or
  • By fax, to (242) 393-0153; or
  • By email, to info@urcabahamas.bs.