WestStar seeks decision review

Local cable television provider WestStar TV Ltd has filed for leave for judicial review of an Information and Communications Technology Authority decision regarding licence variations for another telecommunications licence holder.

The application, filed with the Grand Court on 28 February, seeks leave to apply for judicial review of the variation of licence terms granted by the authority to Infinity Broadband Ltd. Infinity holds a licence to provide services including subscription television services, public services television broadcasting and Internet services including Internet telephony.

The authority granted Infinity Broadband leave to sell a majority stake in the company to Camber Holdings of the British Virgin Islands, thereby opening the door for competition in the local cable television market.

Should the acquisition of a controlling share in Infinity Broadband by Camber Holdings go ahead, WestStar could face a competitor in the local cable TV market. Up to this point, the WestStar only had satellite TV providers to compete against.

WestStar is appealing against a number of amendments to Infinity Broadband’s licence that was approved by the authority. These amendments included the reduction of the minimum Caymanian equity participation of 60 per cent as in the original licence to 25 per cent in the revised licence.

The amendment also included the reduction of number of Caymanian directors from “a majority” as required in the original licence to “a minimum of 2” in the amendment.

Under the Information and Communications Technology Authority Law, the authority may, when considering the granting of a licence, take into account the level of Caymanian participation, if any, when coming to a decision. However, the law does not require a minimum percentage of Caymanian ownership.

The other amendment included changes to the rollout schedule for communications networks and services on those networks.

The rollout schedule has been amended numerous times since the licence was granted in December 2004, from an original requirement of rollout within 18 months of the licence being granted, to the end of December 2008, to the end of March 2010. The most recent amendment to the time line for rollout, which was granted some 20 months after the previous deadline had been exceeded, set the deadline for services to be deployed by 31 March, 2012, unless the sale of Infinity Broadband to Camber Holdings goes ahead.

In that case, the first phase of the ICT network rollout would need to be completed by 31 December, 2012, with services being offered on that network by 28 February, 2013. A further phased rollout of the network to the rest of Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands would take place during the next few years, culminating with full coverage of the Sister Islands by the end of 2017.

WestStar is appealing the authority’s decision to allow Infinity to maintain its licence “notwithstanding Infinity’s noncompliance with Infinity’s fundamental licence condition to rollout its fibre optic cable network.”

The filing also stated WestStar thinks the authority did not take infrastructure sharing, as well as the availability of infrastructure, into account when coming to its decision, thereby potentially having a negative impact on WestStar’s own fibre optic network plans.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Please grant someone, anyone the right to compete, so the cost of living reduces. Several channels have poor sound or patchy reception, others you cannot get unless you purchase the exorbitant HD. DVR is free in the USA, but not here.

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