Representatives of the ECTEL member states have called on telecommunications service providers in the Caribbean region to propose solutions to the issue of Over-the-Top (OTT) services for the consideration of policy makers and regulators. Other Ministers from the Caribbean region including Barbados Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda have supported this call.During the ministerial panel of the 31st annual conference of CANTO (Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Operators) the Ministers also stated that over the past few years consumers have already been latched on to OTTs and therefore, as a group, they must be engaged in the discussions on the solutions.
Minister of the Pubic Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science & Technology, Information and Broadcasting of Saint Lucia and Member of the ECTEL Council, Dr. James Fletcher stated: “Against the backdrop of the positive impact of OTTs on the communities and small businesses, the policy makers must consider all aspects of the issue. Telecommunications service providers must therefore come up with home-grown solutions that would allow Caribbean regulators to respond effectively.”
The Ministers also called on CANTO members to address the issues of high roaming rates within the Caribbean region. Dr. Jerrol Thompson, Special Advisor on Science and Technology to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines stated that telecommunications providers should: “treat the ECTEL member states as one space and providers should stop grandstanding on the issue of roaming”
The CANTO conference and trade exhibition was held in Miami, USA from July 27 – 29th 2015 under the theme “ Improving lives through broadband innovation”. In addition to the presentations by telecommunications and ICT Ministers from fifteen Caribbean countries, regulators and service providers made presentations on the theme. Over four hundred delegates from the Caribbean and Latin America including service providers, regulators and government officials attended the conference.