The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) have announced a new price control mechanism to regulate the prices of regulated retail services provided by Cable & Wireless South Atlantic under their exclusive licence to the general public and businesses in the Falklands
The announcement follows lengthy negotiations between FIG and C&W and, after much exchange of information and discussions on the technicalities of implementation; a final agreement between the two parties was reached during face-to-face meetings held in the Falklands two weeks ago.
“Overall the mechanism ensures that on average prices will decline in real terms for all the regulated services, but it grants discretion to Cable & Wireless to determine individual service prices”, said Andrew Newman, Head of Regulatory Services.
“In practice this discretion may mean that some nominal prices could increase, but the mechanism is designed to protect the public by ensuring that prices averaged across all services will decline in real terms”, he added.
The start date for the price control mechanism is retrospectively set at 1st April 2011 and will run through to 31st March 2015. Customers can expect to see the following service improvements:
• Cheaper broadband packages from 1st Oct 2012 with monthly subscriptions falling by up to 25%
• Faster broadband download speeds from April 2013 with Gold packages doubling in speed to 2mb/s by 1 April 2014
• Increased broadband data allowance in current broadband packages over two years, commencing April 2013 with a 25% across the board increase and a further 25% in April 2014
• Continuation of the free night time window, available between midnight and 6am, through to 31st March 2015
A review of mobile data services to be carried out by FIG Regulatory Services in collaboration with Cable & Wireless in July 2013
FIG was assisted in the negotiation by their consultant Dr Chris Doyle. Annual compliance with the new price control mechanism will be managed by FIG Regulatory Services in conjunction with the audit team in FIG Treasury. The new price control mechanism ensures that FIG is in receipt of data to support its regulatory mandate.
The current exclusive licence held by Cable & Wireless expires in December 2019, with a notification date set 5 years prior to expiry.
Dick Sawle, Member of the Legislative Assembly described the agreement with C&W as an important step forward.
“Broadband prices will immediately reduce, with increases in data packages and improvements to connection speeds following in April 2013. The price control mechanism will ensure that prices continue to fall in real terms from now until 2015. It has only been possible to achieve this progress due to Regulatory services having sufficient powers under recent amendments to the legislation – powers which FIG did not have previously. I would like to thank our consultant Chris Doyle and also Andrew Newman and Terrianne Ormond for their hard work and constant efforts in getting us to this stage.”