Raw deal for Jamaican consumers
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I notice the recent developments in the US regarding the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, and the situation in Jamaica with LIME and FLOW immediately comes to mind.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable were heading into a merger, however, the former decided to walk away from the deal after it seemed that there would not be regulatory approval of the deal. This is after industry stakeholders, the public, and consumer watchdogs reacted negatively to the deal. It is unfortunate, though, that here in Jamaica, the regulatory authorities and the Government pay no attention to industry stakeholders, the public, or the consumer watchdogs, who have been highlighting the negative impact that this deal would have had on our telecommunications industry.
against the deal
What is even more interesting is the reason the FCC chairman gave as to why he was against the deal. He made it very clear that the power that the company would have in a particular section of the market was worrying to him, with no sign that this would not push other players out of the market.
The Jamaican Government has signed off on the LIME/FLOW merger, and we have seen the effects of the deal on the Jamaican people - price increases, service disruptions, very poor and sometimes rude customer service, and an Internet speed that puts us back into the ADSL age.
Neither LIME nor FLOW's profit and sustainability depended on this deal as both companies already commanded significant market shares in their respective areas. This deal has pushed back competition; it has created a monopoly on several telecommunications services; and the Jamaican people will be left to carry the cost burdens on this occasion. Once again, the Jamaican Government and its regulatory bodies have let down the Jamaican people.