Thu | Jul 27, 2017

No timeline for VoIP decision, says OUR

Published:Sunday | August 24, 2014 | 8:00 AM

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has received the responses it required from telecom providers Digicel Jamaica and LIME Jamaica and is in the process of assessing the blockade of unapproved voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) services.

The regulator has given no timeline as to when the decision may be made, and the block possibly lifted.

"As you can appreciate, this is not a simple issue, and will require a great level of research and analysis. Therefore, I would not venture to place a timeline as to when the OUR will complete its examination of this matter. Suffice it to say, it is being treated with the utmost priority by the regulator," said OUR Public Education Specialist Elizabeth Bennett Marsh.

Earlier this year, the two telecoms companies blocked Viber, a VoIP service which allows users to call other Viber users worldwide for free on their smart phones. Digicel went further and blocked some other VoIP services.

Digicel confirmed that its block remains in place.

"We are still trying to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement with Viber, it is still blocked on our network and we have been continuing our consultations with the OUR on this issue," said Gail Moss-Solomon, Digicel's head of legal and regulatory affairs.

Digicel remains unmoved by arguments that the issue is one of net neutrality.

"The activities of unlicensed VoIP operators constitute bypass, which is illegal under Jamaican law," Moss-Solomon said.

"We have provided the OUR with the supporting evidence of this activity and are awaiting its report."

LIME did not respond to queries up to press time.