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Telecommunications Licence Classification


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THe licence classes that have been developed by the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) are technology neutral. Thus, the determining factor for licence classification will be the service that will be provided. For example, a VSAT* licence does not exist. The licence that would be issued would be dependent on whether a private network or a public network is being proposed. VSAT could be the technology employed to provide the service.

    Under the Telecommunications Act 2000, four (4) licence classes have been developed:*

(a) Individual Licence

The services that fall under this licence are generally infrastructure-oriented. Those services often provide the network/foundation upon which other services (such as Value-Added Services) can be supported.

(b) Class Licence

Services that fall under the Class Licence are generally service-oriented applications. It also includes amateur radio, maritime mobile and aeronautical mobile services.

(c) Frequency

This is an ancillary licence, which would be required Authorization Licence in addition to the Individual or Class Licence for wireless applications or services that require use of the frequency spectrum.

 (d) Special Licence 

 This is a special licence to be issued under the discretion of the Minister and only in emergency or exigent circumstances. The term of this licence does not exceed ten (10) days.

The Application Forms for these licences are available from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC).

The two main classes of licences under which most telecommunications services are classified are the Class Licence and the Individual Licence. There are seventeen (17) broad services that have been categorized under these two licences, which are as follows:

Individual

  1. Mobile/Cellular

  2. Frequency/Radio Spectrum*

  3. Fixed Public

  4. Submarine Cable

  5. Public Radio Paging

  6. Internet Networks

  7. Television Broadcast

  8. Radio Broadcast

  9. Community Radio

  10. Subscriber Television (wireless only)*

Class

  1. Internet Service

  2. Value Added Services*

  3. Private Network/Services

  4. International Simple Voice Resale (switchless)

  5. Land Mobile

  6. Maritime Mobile

  7. Aeronautical Mobile

  8. Amateur Radio

  9. Citizen Band Radio

It is expected that the above service categories are generic classifications that cover all possible licences. In applying for the provision of Internet service, a distinction is made between creating a network to provide Internet Service and using an existing network to provide Internet Service. The former category would require an Individual Licence, the latter would require a Class Licence.

It should be noted that the Application for Frequency Authorization would often be needed when the proposed service requires exclusive use of specific frequencies. This application would need to be made in addition to the Individual or Class Licence (or Special Licence) application to provide service. Table I below, provides some guidelines for when Frequency Authorization would be required:

  1. VSAT  Very Small Aperture Terminal

  2. The summaries given are not definitions for the licences identified. For the definitions of the licences, prospective applicants must be guided by the information provided in the Telecommunications Act 2000.

  3. This type of service is primarily for wireless applications that would not be categorized as cellular, paging, television or radio broadcast services

  4. At this time the Commission will be accepting applications for TV Subscriber Services that use wireless technology only.

  5. Value Added Services -A communications facility using common carrier networks for transmission and providing extra data features with separate equipment; services that add value to the basic telecommunications service.

It is expected that the above service categories are generic classifications that cover all possible licences. In applying for the provision of Internet service, a distinction is made between creating a network to provide Internet Service and using an existing network to provide Internet Service. The former category would require an Individual Licence, the latter would require a Class Licence.

It should be noted that the Application for Frequency Authorization would often be needed when the proposed service requires exclusive use of specific frequencies. This application would need to be made in addition to the Individual or Class Licence (or Special Licence) application to provide service. Table I below, provides some guidelines for when Frequency Authorization would be required:

Type of Service Licence Category

Frequency Authorisation Required

Mobile/Cellular Networks/Services Individual Yes
Frequency/ Radio Spectrum Individual Yes
Fixed Public Networks/Services Individual Yes
Submarine Cable Crossing/Landing Individual No
Public Radio Paging Networks/Services Individual Yes
Internet Networks / Services Individual For Wireless Applications
TV /Radio Broadcast Individual Yes
Community Radio Individual Yes
Subscriber Television (wireless) Individual Yes
Internet Services Class For Wireless Applications
International Simple Voice Resale (switchless) Class No
Value Added Services Includes Data Services        Class For Wireless Applications
Private Networks/Services Class For Wireless Applications
Aeronautical Mobile Class Yes
Maritime Mobile Class No
Land Mobile Class Yes
Amateur Radio Class No
Citizen Band Radio Class No
Special Licence Special Licence For Wireless Applications
Terminal Equipment Dealer's Certification Terminal Equipment Dealer's Licence No
Domain Name Registration Agency Licence No

Generally, where the frequency bands to be used are shared by various users, no separate frequency application would be required. The licence, however, would impose the obligations with respect to the use of the band, especially in respect of harmful or other interference. Maritime Mobile, Amateur Radio and Citizen Band Radio are cases of this principle of shared frequency bands that do not require separate applications for use of the spectrum.


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