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Cable Industry Calls For No GST On Home Internet #529585
03/27/18 12:32 PM
03/27/18 12:32 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 61,324
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP
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Dear Prime Minister,

We write on behalf of our members of the Belize Cable Television Operators Association.

With regards to your recent budget speech on the application of GST on Internet.

We are hereby requesting your reconsideration of this proposed increase. The application of GST on this technology would affect the most under privileged in our society, the most remote residents and businesses in our country, the young entrepreneurs needing to communicate with the international market, students research and studies, farmers in remote areas connectivity and the family communications.

The ability to afford Internet provides many advantages and opportunity for the abundant of information resources, inexhaustible education, social networking and staying connected.

This increase of IT to the people of Belize would adversely affect our country's and business development by effectively Increasing the cost of communication; the cost of on-line banking; the cost of accessing on-fine degrees; the cost of on-fine training and access to seminars; the cost of research; the cost of telecommunkatIng and ultimately the cost of doing business placing Belize at a disadvantage to other regional developing countries.

The Cable Industry has made great strides in trying to lower the cost of internet to our subscribers and this tax on data completely wipes out the benefits to our Consumers.

We ask again that you reconsider and zero-rate the home Internet now provided to consumers.

==============================

Cable Operators Plead For No GST on Data

In a few days when the new fiscal year starts, your internet bill will probably be going up. Whether you buy two dollars mobile data from your corner store - that is now expected to be $2.25, or if you buy one of those slick, high speed Diginet packages at home, for, say, 20 megs: instead of $179.00 monthly, that is now expected to be $201.00 dollars monthly.

The pricing hasn't been finalized yet, and those figures are projections, but either the price, or the amount of data you get for it has to change because - for the first time - GST will now be applied to internet and data sales.

And, the Cable Television Operators Association is pleading with the government to reconsider imposing a GST charge on internet data.

The Association wrote to the Prime Minister a week ago saying, quote, "The application of GST on this technology will affect the most underprivileged in our society, the most remote residents and businesses in our country, the young entrepreneurs needing to communicate with the international market, students' research and studies, and family communications." End quote.

It continues by arguing that the imposition of the tax would effectively increase the cost of communication, online banking, access to online education, and the cost of doing business.

So the association and the wider public are hoping that government has a change of heart like it did last week with the pullback of the GST on land preparation for agriculture.

But with only four days to go before the implementation of the new tax - and the budget debate done - we're fairly certain that the government is pretty locked in on this one. It hopes to raise about 6 million dollars in much needed revenue through this measure. Government says it has lost just about that amount in decreased tax revenue from voice calls.

Channel 7

Re: Cable Industry Calls For No GST On Home Internet [Re: Marty] #529698
04/05/18 05:03 AM
04/05/18 05:03 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 61,324
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP

12.5% GST on data services comes into effect

As one of the Government’s tax measures for the new fiscal year, a 12.5% general sales tax is in effect for the purchasing of data service. Despite the objection of the Belize Cable Television Operators, there is no indication that the Government will reverse its decision. The effects of this new GST are already being felt countrywide but not for customers of Belize Telemedia Limited. The telecom giant has decided to delay its effect through a limited promotion. BTL customers are stilling paying regular price for the same amount of data, but this won’t last long. So when that promotion is finished, how will you be charged? Will you pay the extra 12.5% or receive less data? Mobile Product Manager at BTL, Britney Young explained.

Britney Young, Mobile Product Manager, BTL: “If you purchase our standard prepaid data plans thats for instance your ‘data s, data m, data l’ and so on those are affected but you also need to look at Digicell Postpaid Customers. So if you are a lite, plus, elite or max customer those are taxable. Then we go into our fixed products so our broadband products like Diginet or High Speed Internet so for residential customers and business customers they will be taxed on those products as well. What BTL is doing is offering lower data rates for our Diginet residential customers, our mobile prepaid customers and our mobile postpaid customers. So you as a Diginet residential customer if you have the $179 plan the 20MB download speed your bill will actually be $179 because of that lower data rate that we are offering. Let’s say you are a mobile prepaid customer and you purchase your data M plan for $4 you’ll pay $4. This is a limited time offer. So lets say once this lower data rate promotion ends you will actually pay 12.5% GST on that monthly bill. So that would be for a full month you are going to get that 12.5% GST on that. Because that $2 recieves a 12.5% GST your price will go up to match that $2 plus the 12.5% GST. So your plan allowance remains the same just that you have to pay GST on that purchase amount.”

Several other data services providers have already implemented the 12.5 % GST.

LOVEFM


BTL Holding Off On Applying GST on Data

At the top of the news, we told you how Belize Electricity Limited is asking the Public Utilities Commission to increase your electricity rates.

The PUC will have to review that request to see whether or not it is justified, but one utility bill that you will see an increase in is your telecommunications bill.

If you are a customer who buys data for your cellular phone, or you have an internet connection at your home or business, you are now expected to pay 12.5% General Sales Tax on it. That was the decision which Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced as part of the budget for 2018-2019. All data services, whether it's 4G, or high speed internet access, are taxable as of April 1.

So, to provide you with a clear picture of what to expect, we went looking for answers from BTL. Here's what their Mobile Product Manager had to say about the changes in tax regime, and how it will affect the price of your data:

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"So, it will not only apply to your 4G data service, it does encompass our mobile prepaid plan. So if you are a prepaid customer, several customers are prepaid, if you purchase our standard prepaid data plans; that is, for instances, your data S, data L and so on, those are affected. When you look at Digicel postpaid, if you are a lite, plus, elite or max costumer those are taxable. Then we go into our fixed products; so, our broadband services like diginet or highspeed internet. So, for residential customers and business customers, they will be taxed on those products as well."

Daniel Ortiz - Reporter
"I come in with $2 and I want to buy as much data as possible for my prepaid number, will that amount be the same, will I have to pay a dollar more, what will I have to do to get the same amount of data that I would have been able to buy before the taxes were applied to that bill?"

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"So the plans don't change, what changes is the price because that $2 receives that 12.5% GST, your price will go up to $2 plus the 12.5% GST. Your plan remains the same, the allowance remains the same just that you have to pay GST on that purchased amount."

Daniel Ortiz
"Have you all been getting customers asking questions like these: how their new billing cycle will be like?"

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"We have gotten a few but because it went into effect over the Easter weekend we haven't gotten an influx of calls; customers haven't received a monthly bill as yet. I'm certain that once we get that first cycle of customers on April 15th they will have questions just to figure out what is being taxed and what's not taxed; maybe for those customers that have bundle plans where they have something that has standard tax and now they are getting taxed on data. It will be broken down to show the reflection of what GST is; so, that is broken down properly on our bill. We want to make this transition as easy as possible for our customers. It essentially applies to all data services; so mobile data whether it is postpaid or prepaid, whether you have fixed internet services, if you are a resident or a business, once you are getting some form of internet then that will have the 12.5% GST applied to it."

But, if you are a BTL customer, you don't have to start worrying about the spike in your internet bill just yet. The company is offering a limited time promotion where it will absorb the cost of the GST tax on your data. So, that means that for the time being, your bill will remain the same. The company's mobile product manager told us that they are trying to assist their customers to prepare for the change that this new tax will bring:

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"Well the taxes are in effect as of April 1st but what BTL is doing is offering lower data rates for our Diginet residential customers, our mobile prepaid customers and our mobile postpaid customers. So, you, as a Diginet residential customer, if you have the 179 plan- the 20 mg speed- your bill will actually be $179 because of the lower data rate that we are offering. Let's say you are a mobile prepaid customer and you purchase your data M plan for $4, you'll pay $4 right now. This is a limited time offer. Now let's say this lower data rate promotion ends, you will actually pay 12.5% GST on that monthly bill. So, that will be for a full month that you will get the 12.5% GST on that."

Daniel Ortiz - Reporter
"How long can costumers say: yes, I am getting a little ease from BTL?"

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"Well it is a limited time offer but right now we don't have specific days to give out. It is effective April 1st, so customers can enjoy the promotion at this time. Should anything change we'll be sure to notify customers in a timely manner so they can prepare for that change in the promotion."

Daniel Ortiz
"There will be a cut-off point in which this promotion ends?"

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"Correct because it is a limited time offer so there will be an end date once one has been determined."

So, while BTL customers will be getting this slight ease, it won't be the same for the customers of other internet service providers. We understand that other ISP's will be passing that tax hike to their customers, as of April 1, when the change took effect. That means that non-BTL customers should see an increase in their next billing cycle.

We've heard of at least 1 owner of another internet service provider who is viewing BTL's promotional rate of absorbing the GST as an unfair competition.

As the biggest telecoms company, BTL is better able to absorb the financial hit of such a move, which could negatively affect smaller companies.

The BTL spokesperson told us their intentions were honest. She said that they are simply looking after their own customers:

Daniel Ortiz - Reporter
"We understand that other companies are offering, well, they will be applying this particular GST change immediately or it takes effect as of April 1st and they don't have this promotional rate. Is this a tactic to possibly entice those customers who would be paying more from those other telecommunications companies."

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"We like to offer our customers more value in our plans and I think that is our main focus- to have our customers be our priority. And we want to remain competitive in this market. So with it becoming effective April 1st some customers might not have time to plan for that so we want to offer them more value during this limited time offer and I mean there is more value in that."

Daniel Ortiz
"Are you able to address the concern that maybe this is a calculated attempt to undermine your competitors?"

Britany Young, Mobile Product Manager - BTL
"I would not say that at all it is just that we are offering our customers more value in their data plans because as you know data plans can run expensive so it is just giving customers more value for what they are paying for."

BTL customers who would like to see how this new data tax regime will affect them can visit the company's website at belizetelemedia.net. You can also call their customer service hotline.

Channel 7



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