URCA Publishes Final SMP Decision

Section 116 of the Communications Act 2009 (the “Comms Act”) sets out presumptions of Significant Market Power (SMP) for Bahamas Telecommunications Company (“BTC”) and Cable Bahamas Limited (“CBL”) for two high level markets respectively and imposes a duty on URCA to determine which specific, if any, ex ante obligations should be imposed on these two operators. The obligations are to be “designed to maintain … the objective of encouraging, promoting and enforcing sustainable competition”.

The consultation process on this matter started at the end of September 2009 with the publication of Preliminary Determinations and accompanying guidelines. Since then there have been a number of stages where interested parties and the two SMP operators had opportunities to submit written comments (these are already available on URCA’s website) and also engage directly with URCA.

URCA also published a Position Paper on 19 March 2010, and responses were received from CBL and BTC. In addition, CBL has recently submitted a Regulatory Cost Accounting Proposal. All of these responses and the proposal are published today, together with URCA’s Final Decision on Obligations Imposed on Operators with Significant market Power, (ECS 11/2010)

The Final Decision provides a summary of the entire process, includes analysis and rationale for the products that are found to be in the high-level SMP market and lists the specific ex ante obligations to which the SMP operators must adhere. In accordance with s.116, it also sets out a transparent set of next steps in order to provide greater clarity on what is expected in terms of regulatory oversight, how reviews will be conducted, and how each of the operators is able to demonstrate compliance to enter new markets.

In support of the Final Decision, URCA has also taken into account comments received from the industry and proposals from the SMP operators and published the following separate documents:

• ECS 12/2010 – Final Accounting Separation and Cost Accounting – Guidelines for BTC

• ECS 13/2010 – Final Accounting Separation and Cost Accounting – Guidelines for CBL

• ECS 14/2010 – Final Access & Interconnection Guidelines

• ECS 15/2010 – Regulation of Retail Prices for SMP Operators – Rules (“Retail Pricing Rules”).

All documents can be downloaded on this site under “Publications” tab “Consultation”.