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Saint Lucia Chairs Council of Ministers of ECTEL

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006 – Saint Lucia has been elected to Chair the Council of Ministers of ECTEL, the OECS Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Minister for Communications Works, Transport and Public Utilities Honourable Felix Finisterre was elected at the 14th Council of Ministers Meeting of The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ECTEL), which was held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this month.

Addressing his colleague Ministers and telecommunications experts of the grouping, Mr. Finisterre outlined a number of major achievements made in the region. Among the new regulations are measures regarding regional and national numbering plans, new regulations for interconnection and numbering fees, revision of new licensing evaluation criteria, approval of a new template for the issuance of international simple voice resale licenses and consideration of the fourth draft legislation on the licensing of broadcast stations.

The Council also approved the Work Plan and Budget for the operations of ECTEL for 2006-2007.  Mr. Finisterre reported a favourable balance sheet in the operations of the organisation, expressing his pleasure about a doubling of the Authority’s surplus at the end of the financial year.

“This is a good signal of our achievement -- seeing a government body fully self-reliant and capable of realizing a surplus. That is not usual in these spheres,” the minister said.

The Council meeting also addressed ECTEL's reporting obligations to the World Bank.

Mr. Finisterre says ECTEL is preparing to give the Bank an update on the Universal Service Fund as well as arrangements on what telecommunications operators are doing, and how ECTEL is fostering an environment which would promote greater savings and greater competitiveness among service providers.

The meeting also reviewed a report on the installation of a new regional submarine cable and its impact on the provision of high speed broadband internet service to ECTEL member states.

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