The following is a letter that was sent out as information about BTL and an upcoming forum.
The country of Belize is experiencing another travesty ... at the behest of BTL and "whosoever owns, manages, or oversees it".
Belizeans residing in the country of Belize are crying out for help from all Belizeans living abroad to do whatever they can to bring pressure to bear on the government of Belize and on BTL. It is urgent that we seek to reform the telecommunications industry in Belize! As it is managed right now, it remains an unshakeable, uncaring big time monopoly for few!!!
FYI: The government minister whose portfolio "telecommunications" falls under is Ralph Fonseca. Just in case you have not heard of what is currently happening, here is the latest:
Within the past month or two (!) BTL jammed the signals to anyone in the country of Belize who had VOIP (voice over internet protocol) converters. These are marketed by such companies like Vonage, Speakeasy, Verizonspeak, Tomatovine and others.
This ruthless action by BTL, undoubtedly, brought the tourism industry in Belize to its knees, not to mention other developing and upcoming industries that need to make frequent global calls, especially to the USA. This forces Belizeans to once more have to pay the exorbitant $2.00 per minute to BTL for any overseas call.
I suppose because no uproar was heard from local Belizeans, BTL went even further and jammed audio signals from companies like Google, Talk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Voice that accomodate pc to pcvoice communications.
As a result, Belize is now thrown back to the pre- computer era...no high technology for Belize ... does Belize need this??? Do you need this?
Please do your part ... forward, forward, forward ... Help those at home to be able to participate in the computer era: the 21st century.
Contacts: PUC in Belize, the Government of Belize, the newspapers, the radio stations, channels 5 and 7 and whoever you know who can help to turn the tide. Tell friends and family in Belize to attend the PUC meeting which is to be held on April 26th between 9 and noon at the Raddison Fort George ...."and be vocal"!!! If you are a registered Belizean voter, please be proactive in our country's affairs... we need to bring independent Belize into the 21st century, not send it back to colonial days of "yes, sir", "no, sir".
BTL has just purchased very expensive software from China to jam the signal. They need the PUC to put this through so that they can permanently jam.
The other plans (according to //yer-i-so//) includes banning all personal satellite systems, banning online chat services and even a policing unit who could go into our homes and offices and enforce these measures. We must stop this from happening!
The PUC is organizing a public forum on the theme "Opportunities and Threats for VOIP in Belize". The PUC's intent is to inform the general public and stakeholders on the law, and to receive their views and recommendations as the PUC formulates its position on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
The forum is to be held on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel Caracol Room, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The PUC is seeking the participation of members of the public in the forum.
We urge you to discuss the forum topic with family, friends and professional colleagues and attend the forum to take part in the discussion. The forum discussion is to be led by a panel comprised of representatives form the telephone providers, government, ISPS (Internet service providers), the PUC, and a citizen's advocate. An international consultant has been asked to make a presentation on the global regulatory perspective, and he will act as forum moderator. Each panelist will take 10 minutes to present before the forum enters a plenary discussion to hear the views and receive the feedback of the general audience.
Please place the forum on your calendar, and feel free to contact the PUC for any clarification or other information you may wish to access regarding the forum.