by Linda Straker
Customers of FLOW’s broadband service can submit comments to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), regarding the application by Columbus Communication to increase its Turbo 12 and Turbo 20 Internet rates.
The Notice of Review on the NTRC website did not provide a deadline date for customers to submit comments, but it advises that interested parties can make submissions to the Commission in writing.
Posted on 18 November 2015, the Notice said that the purpose for the review, among other things, is to determine whether prices being charged are in compliance with regulations and the retail tariff of sections 6 to 9 of the Telecommunications legislation.
“Most importantly that the tariff for broadband services are fair and reasonable in accordance with regulation 6 (2) (a) and under regulation 7(1)(d) that the tariff is not fair and reasonable, as it represents an increase for a rate that, having regard to the nature of the service is likely to have a significant impact on customers in Grenada,” said the Notice.
The section which is subtitled “Tariffs to meet minimum conditions” states the regulations says that a telecommunications provider shall ensure that prices for telecommunications services shall be determined in accordance with the principles of supply and demand in the market.
According to SRO 54 of 2014 a telecommunications provider shall provide tariffs for telecommunications services that:
- are fair and reasonable;
- do not discriminate unduly among similarly situated persons, including the provider and any body corporate with which it is affiliated;
- are not anti-competitive, where it has been declared dominant in accordance with these regulations;
- are priced above costs;
- except with the written authorisation of the Commission, utilise revenues or the allocation of costs from one telecommunications service to cross subsidize another telecommunications service;
- are clear, up to date and easily accessible by the general public; and
- impose charges based on actual usage by a customer or service provision by a provider.
In September 2015, Columbus Communications, which trades as FLOW, sent a notice to customers that its fixed broadband rate will increase as of 1 November 2015 — although it failed to comply with the law to seek approval from the NTRC in advance.
The company has since placed a notification at its cash office, informing customers that the new fee structure which will see the Turbo 12 moving from EC$79 to EC$99 and the Turbo 20 moving from EC$135 to EC$149, is suspended until further notice.