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BTC Fined $240K

A hefty fine has been issued on the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) yesterday by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA).

URCA has found that BTC violated two sections of the Communications Act and therefore fined the company nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

The order stemmed from a complaint filed by the Systems Resource Group (SRG), a subsidiary of the Cable Bahamas Group of companies which is responsible for the distribution of Indigo calling cards.

SRG alleges that BTC engaged in business practices that breached two sections of the Communications Act which URCA CEO Kathleen Smith says have been taken very seriously.

“In brief, the particulars are that SRG approached several wholesale businesses with a view to them displaying and selling SRG’s “Indigo” calling card,” she said

“However the wholesale businesses then advised SRG that they had executed an exclusive supply agreement with BTC prohibiting them from selling the SRG calling cards.”

This business transaction however breached laws in the Communications Act and leaving SRG a disadvantage since March 2013.

The order issued yesterday morning at URCA headquarters required that BTC submit to a list of requirements that conclude with a payment of a fine amounting to $243,442.76.

URCA Director Stephen Bereaux said the fines are outlined specifically within the agreement and must be collected in order to prevent more activities like this.

“The purpose of the fine was to insure that conduct of this sort which is harmful to competition isn’t repeated or doesn’t take place in the market,” he said

“So it’s intended obviously to remove the incentive for engaging in anti-competitive behaviour,”

When BTC CEO Leon Williams was asked about the order he said he was unable to give much comment at the time.

“I would wait until I sit down with the regulatory team and the legal staff at BTC to make a formal comment on the URCA finding,” he said.

The fine must be paid within 30 calendar days from the issuance of the order.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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