REPORT #550 November 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The Telecommunications market of $142 million in Belize is on the surface dead? But underneath, there is a school of sprat minnows being circled by hungry Barracudas. The odd swirl of current and jumping minnow leaves one to ponder the subsurface turmoil?

Belizean customers have been a captive of the government one party mafia rule in partnership with a telecommunications monopoly private business, for political self enrichment corruption arrangement for nearly 15 years. Nobody else was allowed to do any modern telecommunications. On the surface, indications are that the monopoly is going to let the telecommunications business die as they have not taken out a license to operate coming January 1st, 2002 when their monopoly is finished. The politically backed front company of INTELCO with the inside track is unprepared. Indeed it is run by Glen Godfrey who seems to be a winner on SALES PITCHES, but lousy when it comes to capitalizing on his business advantages. Everything he starts, comes on good; but quickly goes bust for lack of management business capability.

When it comes to the internet, things are even more uncertain. The telephone monopoly hijacked the internet creation from private entrepreneurs many years ago, and the government's since then, have not done anything to defend free enterprise in court because they were compromised by their own private deals. Due to the hijacking and closing out of what was a developing independent competitive ISP environment, to one of political/business exploitation for private profit, the nation of Belize economy in International Business was effectively strangled. For a dozen years, Belize has lagged behind the more modern countries who operated enlightened internet ISP competition.

One of the problems with the monopoly in telecommunications due to end this December, was their preference for operating internet services through a satellite. Unfortunately, bandwidth and speed suffers using this method. There is a NAP from underwater cable, of fiber optics in Belize and it is believe that the current telecommunications monopoly holds 6 such fiber optic cable choices and a political insider through the front firm of Intelco owns the other 6 fiber optic connections on the Belize NAP. We're not sure about this; but it matters little, as the 411 or so, illegal private enterprise competition, has no choices or ability to connect to a fiber optic NAP within Belize. Political self enrichment schemes will not allow it.

NOW though, with the end of monopoly in sight at the end of this year, Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize District entrepreneurs are exploring how to open ISP competitive services for internet customers in Belize. To more or less get back where we were ten years ago; when the ISP business was hijacked by a combination of politicians running an exploitation dictatorship one party government and a businessman who controlled the telephone monopoly of the day. There is satellite internet in Belize, albeit illegally. And many rural business customers and many in the capital, already have these illegal satellite installations. Unfortunately, satellite does not provide the bandwidth and speed necessary to enter international business competition. Business entrepreneurs need fiber optic connection to the Belizean NAP, they have discovered in the current debate.

Disregarding the fiber optic NAP in Belize as being totally politically banned to the small businessman entrepreneur, seems to be the consensus public decision after lengthy debates.

Satellite connection is deemed inadequate for competitive purposes, either by legal or illegal installations. What some entrepreneurs are thinking and investigating are the connecting to the Mexico City fiber optic NAP, by laying private pirate fiber optic cable under the Bay of Chetumal in the mud, from Mexico to Belize. All this to get competitive with speed and bandwidth in world business.

What would it mean to get speed and bandwidth at $15 a month for internet service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in Belize? A lot! A whole lot of stifled and forbidden businesses could open up once we had the capability.

One such business are many Belize based SERVERS for web hosting. Internationally and particularly in Europe, the governments are oppressive. France for instance I am told by French people cannot afford the internet in their homes. They are taxed priced out of international competition. Many other EU countries also have strict controls on the internet development. Usually for political self enrichment arrangements also in connection with one or two well placed business connections. Exploitation of the public is the name of the game in European countries. The EU countries are generally going downhill economically. China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and India are starting to replace them for industrial manufacturing and their food processing world markets are being surpassed by Brazil, Chile and Mexico using newer technologies of packaging and preservation.

But the world is a big place! Just last week, the web hosting market for the Spanish business market blew wide open. That country of Spain, just required all Spanish web sites to register with the government and start paying taxes on any business or sales done on the internet from that country. Literally thousands of web sites have been deleted by small entrepreneurs. Here is a big market for web hosting for Belizean based SERVERS that web host. You put in an offshore company as an intermediary, new WEB SITE for Spanish businesses, with a complimentary web site and VOILA! Belize is now in the international business competition game! Some countries have censorship. Others prohibit various websites based on content such as gambling and sex entertainment sites. Belize of course is a little bitty country in the world, but other peoples pain is our gain. With our piratical background, and tendency not to make moral judgements ( one persons morals is somebody elses sin ). Belize can become a BIG web hosting country for the world, serving the needs of entrepreneurs world wide.

All we need is an unfettered legal environment. The local politicians to keep their sticky fingers off international private enterprise, and fiber optic connection for high speed bandwidth. Will we be allowed to get it? That is the question? There are a lot of GREEDY DUNCES in that government of ours just waiting and ready to screw opportunities up. But OPPORTUNITY IS THERE come January, what will our current Belizean Government do about it?

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