ECS 09/2020 Consultation on the proposed changes to the Reference Access and Interconnection Offer published by The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (“URCA”) issues for consultation a review of the changes The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. (“BTC”) proposes to make to the Reference Access and Interconnection Offer (“RAIO”).

A RAIO sets out the price and non-price terms and conditions under which an SMP[1] operator like BTC will permit Other Licensed Operators (“OLOs”) to physically interconnect with its network. Non-price terms and conditions in a typical RAIO include clauses relating to dispute resolution, termination and suspension, service level agreements, the inclusion of new services, liability, non-payment and billing disputes, the technical requirements/specifications, and Quality of Service metrics for interconnection services.

Pursuant to sections 39 and 40 of the Communications Act, 2009 (referred to herein as “the Comms Act” or “the Act”), BTC was designated as having SMP in specified retail and wholesale markets and is therefore subject to SMP obligations including the requirement to permit interconnection to its network on fair, reasonable, transparent and non-discriminatory terms and conditions.[2]  One of URCA’s mandate is to approve terms and conditions of reference offers that are compatible with the statutory framework of the Act and other regulatory measures. The Act also requires URCA to consult with interested parties and stakeholders on matters of public significance.