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ECTEL Warns Telecom Blockers

ECTEL Managing Director, Embert Charles
ECTEL Managing Director, Embert Charles

TELECOMMUNICATIONS providers in the OECS sub region have beern called upon to stop blocking over the top (OTT) services to their subscribers.

In a statement yesterday, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) said it had received media reports that some telecommunications providers have blocked such services like WhatsApp voice service, over their network in ECTEL Member States of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica.

ECTEL said it had been advised that a wide range of stakeholders, including policy makers were concerned over these reports and added: “ECTEL is therefore appealing to all services providers operating within its Member States, to immediately refrain from the practice of blocking OTT services, websites and or throttling speeds, and commit to the principle of an open Internet, as concluded through a public consultation conducted by ECTEL and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities (NTRCs) between 23rd September 2013 and 4th November 2013.

Further, ECTEL warned that the interception on any communication without the consent of the receiving party was a breach of provisions of the operator’s licence and the action also contravened the national laws.

To ensure the principle of an open Internet is observed, ECTEL said it had requested all NTRCs to report any documented cases of blocking of OTT services in their jurisdictions. In addition, ECTEL said it had had meetings with some service providers, and had requested documented evidence of the impact of OTT services on their key performance business indicators, such as, revenue, profit, network performance, voice and traffic data, and customer and device uptake.

“ECTEL is advising the public to report instances of blocking of OTT services to their service providers in the first instance, and if not resolved to report to their respective NTRCs. The procedures for filing complaints against a service provider are contained in the Dispute Resolution Regulations in all the ECTEL Member States”, said the statement by EC TEL Managing Director Embert Charles.

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