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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Telecoms liberalisation will further boost Guyana’s oil-induced skyrocketing GDP

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As Guyana is poised to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world as a result of the massive oil discoveries made offshore, the move by the newly installed government to liberalise the country’s telecommunications sector after 30 years of monopoly, will see benefits going to people across the country.

“It is anticipated that Guyanese will feel an immediate positive impact from the implementation of these legislation, which create a modern and competitive environment for telecommunications, and which will immediately result in greater choices, better quality of service and lower prices for consumers, while at the same time ensuring that all operators continue to enjoy all benefits conferred under the old legislative regime,” Prime Minister Mark Phillips said, in making the announcement.

Digicel Guyana, a telecommunications operator in the country, says due to this move, “everyday people will also feel the benefits” as the country is set to undergo massive growth and transformation from its multi-billion-barrel oil resources.

The Telecommunications Act and Public Utilities Act to liberalise the sector was passed by the country’s National Assembly back in 2016; however, it was on October 5 this year that the Commencement Orders which enforce the Acts were signed.

In a statement, Digicel Guyana said, “Guyana is on the brink of a new dawn. With a McKinsey study showing that 10% higher broadband penetration delivers a GDP boost to a country of up to 1.4%, and Guyana poised to become the fastest growing economy in the world on foot of the biggest oil discovery in years, access to world class telecommunications services – and all the attendant benefits and opportunities they bring – will mean that everyday people will also feel the benefits.”

Just last year, during the Guyana International Petroleum Exhibition and Summit (GIPEX), CEO of GTT, Justin Nedd, had revealed that the country’s oil industry utilised more internet bandwidth than the entire populace, increasing the demand by 500 percent in a two year span. He said that data is transmitted from offshore operations (marine vessels) to onshore offices, and also to the companies’ headquarters.

GTT is the oldest telecommunications company in the country and benefited immensely from the 30-year old monopoly on international voice and data.

At the time of that statement, Guyana was not yet in its production stage, but the Liza Destiny FPSO was being installed and prepared for first oil. Since then, production has begun, and approval was granted for a third development, thereby ramping up the number of floating production units that will be installed offshore the South American country in coming years. Already, four drill ships are operating offshore with a fifth on the way by year end. All these vessels remain operational through the support of a number of supply vessels operating primarily between Georgetown and Trinidad ports, destined for the Stabroek Block.

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