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PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th.

Posted By: Katie Valk

PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/28/06 12:12 PM

PUC hearings regarding BTL's push to quash voip, instant messages and satelitte dishes, April 26, at the Radisson, 9-noon.

"With dependable testing it confirms what has been suspected that BTL is blocking access to port 5060 at their routers. The test also attempts to connect via port 6000, this test also failed. This is worrisome as it could indicate that rather than simply applying filters on their routers they might be using some sort of stateful inspection to specifically target SIP and or H.323 packets. This would give credence to the statement made on the Belize

forum that they (BTL) bought some big bucks software (China) to prevent VoIP usage.”



“It is also notable that BTL claims to that they are not 'blocking' communication. This could be true based upon the definition of “blocking”. Some Vonage calls are going through. What they are doing is lowering the quality of service (QOS) which will cause users to become frustrated and leave the service.”



"While BTL is maintaining that VoIP services are not licensed in Belize it is interesting that they want to provide the connection but limit the incoming content. They are not complaining about Yahoo, Excite, Google and other content related services and these are not licensed."



"The April PUC meeting is most important and must have substantial attendance. BTL is so used to operating in a vacuum and getting their way without the people knowing in advance. Having a well prepared plan with supportable data is critical. And having hundreds if not thousands of people attending the meeting from every part of the Belize economy, every district and disciplines is paramount. And, the media must be on top of it all"
Posted By: Short

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/28/06 11:00 PM

This is the story on Channel 5:
http://www.channel5belize.com/

And in news that may not go down well with a growing group of consumers, it appears that a showdown is looming in the telecommunications industry. The dispute involves BTL's decision to curtail use of VOIP--that's voice over internet protocol--which allows people to use services like Vonage or Skype to make international calls for pennies per minute. Word from telecom experts indicates that BTL has been experimenting with various anti-VOIP technologies over the last several months and fears that the growth in the cheap internet based phone systems will hurt its lucrative business in overseas calls. The matter should come to a head on April twenty-sixth when the Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing on the subject. Proponents of the bargain phone systems are hoping for a large turnout to overcome BTL's expected argument that high international rates are necessary to subsidize low cost local calls and the extension of service to unprofitable rural communities.
------------------------------------------------

Their strategy in other words is to threaten that if they don't get it their way, rural communities (read: the poor Belizeans) will loose telephone service or their rates will have to go up.

Strange to hear this from one of the country's most profitable companies. Why does telecommunication in Belize have to be probably one of the world’s most expensive systems? Why can't, what works anywhere else in the world, not work in Belize?

They could make so much more money by making their service more reliable and work with in stead of against competition. Why don't they do that? Because there is no competition. When BTL gets it their way, the service will only get worse.

I don't read anything about the Satellite Internet, but I don't doubt that is built in somewhere in their proposal. Many of those systems are in areas where BTL doesn't offer an alternative.

The bottom line is that BTL wants to keep Belize poor and undeveloped by cutting it off from the rest of the world, and make fortunes on a miserable service. What a great climate to attract foreign investors.

Just my 5 cents.
Posted By: HVYMTL

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/29/06 02:26 AM

Please keep us posted on the meeting results. If this does not work out, there could be some work arounds through the BTL service, as well as the satellite alternatives.

Tom
Posted By: Caye Connect

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/29/06 06:00 AM

Here is a link directly to the story on Channel 5.

http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=15960

Katie, your post is one long quote. Where is that quote from? Newpaper, blog, radio/TV?
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/29/06 01:14 PM

From technical and official people who know what BTL is up to.
Posted By: Chris

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/30/06 01:02 AM

There are some very rich "businessmen" in this country who bawl and cry to the government so that they can monopolize their marketplace. Examples are beer, soft drinks including carbonated water, still water and telephone communications.

I put "businessmen" in quotes because REAL businessmen welcome competition and use it to improve their services. The people who beg and bribe government for laws that suit their monopolies are just little dictators.
Posted By: shuffles

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/30/06 01:46 AM

Or "big" dictators.

Vonage takes about four redials most of the time to get a call out, and somehow they have it set up so that when an incoming call comes in, it goes directly to voice mail. Same with the Vonage 800 number.

Since those of us that have Vonage require at least the second highest dsl speed, it would seem to me that while they are "experimenting" with their expensive (by the way, if BTL is so poor, how can they afford this?), software, they are lowering my internet speed erratically, and, in effect, we are not getting what we are paying for.

Everyone who owns the Vonage system should show up at the meeting. They are in effect cutting off their nose to spite their face. When a prospective guest dials an 800 number from the US to make a hotel reservation, and they cannot get through to a place; and then even if they leave a message it may take quite some time to return the call, they may actially go somewhere else....not Belize.

But, after all, it IS all about the "right now" isnt it?
Posted By: Caye Connect

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/30/06 01:39 PM

This is the official invite:


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 from 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.

Sincerely,
Anne Wade
Public Information Consultant
Posted By: Caye Connect

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 03/30/06 04:26 PM

Is this what the blocking is really about?

"Innovative Communication, run by entrepreneur Jeffrey J. Prosser, sued to recover control of the company. He has two directors on the board.

He claims that the government misled him by inviting him to buy the company, taking his down payment and then failing to enact promised regulations that would prevent unfair competition from Internet and other telecom providers and would guarantee the security of his license."

Belize not liable for fine in telecom tussle

A Miami federal judge rules that the government of Belize is not liable for a $50,000- a-day contempt of court fine in a fight over the nation's phone company.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/14218810.htm
Posted By: Marty

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 04/05/06 04:29 AM

Hee's a petition going round....

April 3, 2006
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION
59 Regent Street
Belize City Belize
Dear Chairman Gilbert Canton:
I am writing to seek your support in our efforts to obtain fair and reasonable telecommunication services. Belize Telecommunications Ltd (BTL) is stripping us of our right to be treated fairly and justly.
They have jammed the signals on VOIP (voice over internet protocol) devices marketed by such companies as Vonage, SpeakEasy, VerizonSpeak, TomatoVine and others. They have gone as far as jamming chat and messenger programs like Google Talk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Voice and others. If BTL can prevent Belizeans from using the Internet to communicate using the argument that we should be using their telephone services, the postal service could argue that they have a right to block BTL’s telecommunication system as less Belizeans write letters as they rely more on telephones and even more so now… the Internet.
This continues to create a monopoly which BTL should no longer have and forces us to continue paying exorbitant prices per minute for overseas calls. They sell TCP/IP but don’t give us all the features; yet, they still charge us a full price.
It is unwarranted for a people to be held hostage by one company who already makes a substantial profit with fixed lines, cellular services, Internet fees and various other services.
I urge you to do what is right and fight the big fight. We are not able to do it alone and individually could not possibly fight them in a court of law due to finances. The PUC should not even entertain talks of this jamming as a possibility. The monopoly is officially over, but the people are still held hostage by the actions of BTL. Why should we be thrown back into the ice age when the world around us is booming with technology!
Sincerely,
Name:
Address:


Cc: Hon. Ralph Fonseca
Minister of Communications
Ministry of Communications
Belmopan City
Posted By: Marty

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 04/05/06 04:29 AM

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 telecommunictions 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 pc voice 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 viewsand 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 fom 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.


Sincerely,
Anne Wade
Public Information Consultant
Posted By: scubawalk

Re: PUC-BTL hearings re: VOIP/April 26th. - 04/05/06 02:00 PM

And did you Know that BTL uses VOIP themselves - the 10-10-199 number is VOIP (Channel 7 news) - will that be blocked also.
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