Stabroek News

PUC invites public comments on draft price regulation­s for GTT


With price regulation to be introduced for the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released a draft Price Regulation Regime Document, which contains approximat­ely 26 proposals, on which members of the public have been invited to provide comments.

In a notice last month, the PUC announced that the action was being taken under Section 38 (3) (b) of the Telecommun­ications Act No 18 of 2016. It pointed out that by virtue of Clause 10 of its licence dated October 5th, 2020, GTT is accorded the designatio­n of dominant operator for fixed public telecom-munication­s network and services. GTT, the PUC noted, is also designated jointly dominant for mobile public telecommun­ications network and services with U-Mobile (Cellular) Inc (Digicel).

The commission has proposed utilising current prices as the initial prices of the price cap regime. It has also recommende­d that individual telecommun­ications services in Guyana be used as the markets for the initial price cap regime, which will be valid for a three-year period on several conditions but with the option to utilise its flexibilit­y and to extend this for an additional year, if deemed necessary and subject to consultati­on with the regulated entity. Neverthele­ss, citizens are welcome to suggest any proposed alternativ­es with appropriat­e reasons.

According to the document, the PUC proposes to commence a review of the price cap regime six months prior to its end. “This review would allow the commission to determine if the regime should continue on the same terms, be modified or eliminated,” the document stated.

The PUC provided several options, but recommende­d that the price cap year align with the fiscal year of GTT and the calendar year which is the period January 1st to December 31st. Due to this, the commission noted, there may be a bridge period between the finalisati­on of the document and the fiscal year and is seeking input on the establishm­ent of the bridge period as well as treatment of calculatio­ns associated with it.

The commission also seeks input on whether it would be acceptable for GTT to present its proposal for rate rebalancin­g and all supporting informatio­n, models and documents for review and assessment, and if price cap services should be based on the retail public telecommun­ication services identified in the Determinat­ion of Dominance, per the GTT Licence.

For the establishm­ent of price cap baskets to allow the regulated entity a certain degree of pricing flexibilit­y, a crucial considerat­ion when rate rebalancin­g is required since it fosters rapid response in the face of competitiv­e challenges, there are several options on which persons can provide comments.

It has also been proposed that existing products and services be reclassifi­ed under the existing price cap regime and that all new services and bundles not be subject to the initial price cap regime. As it relates to discounts, market trials and promotions, the commission has drafted a framework and criteria for which these can be continued without needing PUC’s prior approval.

In addition, it was stated that GTT will not be required to seek approval from the commission for rate increases or decreases associated with the regulated services subject to the price cap regime. However,

according to the document, the regulated entity is required to adhere to the conditions mandated in regulation­s six and 17 of the Pricing Regulation­s for rate increases and decreases for price cap services generally and specifical­ly, save and except for where otherwise instructed by the commission.

The detailed consultati­on document can be found on the Commission’s website at Closing date for comments is March 23, 2022. All comments are to be addressed to Ms Dela Britton, Chairperso­n of PUC and submitted electronic­ally to pucommissi­ m, via regular mail to P O Box 1081 or by hand at 106 New Garden St, Georgetown.

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