JITSA weighs in on the VoIP Blocks by Telecoms Providers

Release Date: 
Thursday, July 31, 2014

The JITSA body believes the recent action of some service providers who have blocked access to certain VoIP applications goes against the national interest and sets a precedent that could limit ICT led social and business innovation.

Spokesman for JITSA, Christopher Reckord stated: “We value highly the commitment made by service providers in building out our national communications infrastructure, and recognize the need to generate a fair return on investment (ROI). However, JITSA believes that this is a complex issue that has the potential for far reaching impact.” Mr. Reckord continued “JITSA believes this is an issue that requires more consultation between the O.U.R. and the relevant stakeholder groups, including the wider ICT community. In the meantime, the O.U.R. should request that service providers restore these services until any further action has been agreed by the regulatory authority”

JITSA asserts that the issue goes to the heart of effective adoption of ICT to drive social and business innovation at the national level, and touches on issues such as net-neutrality, the availability of Over-The-Top services (OTT), Open Internet as well as the Quality of Service issues raised by the service providers. While there is a clear need for Jamaica to have a healthy and vibrant telecoms sector, there is also the wider responsibility to ensure that transformational benefits of ICT are realized, especially in the context of social and economic reform.

At a recent membership meeting, President of JITSA, Mr. Mervyn Eyre, stated: “This industry development serves to highlight some of the very positions outlined in our recently released opinion paper on ICT adoption in the context of reform. Jamaica is at a critical point where issues of ICT governance and legislation need to be addressed with urgency if we are to see ICT contributing to economic development and the rapid improvement of Jamaica’s competitiveness.”

Mr. Eyre went on to say: “This situation should act as a catalyst to urgently bring key stakeholders together in driving out new policies and legislation that will allow Jamaica, including those who invest in it, to thrive in a hyper connected world”. JITSA is working group of over 30 locally registered IT companies, both local and international, including representation from existing industry organisations such as the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) and the Jamaica Information Technology & Communications Association (JITCA). Its growing membership comprises a vibrant cross-section of local entrepreneurs, regional IT joint venture companies and global product and service providers.

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