"Gov't Must Break its Silence and Secure Temporary Removal of Block on VoIP" - Wheatley

Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 03:30

Opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT and Digital Society Development, Dr.Andrew Wheatley, has weighed in on the ongoing controversy regarding the decision on the part of telecoms service providers to block Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications and is taking the Government to task in its slow handling of the existing row.

Speaking at a Press Conference at the JLP's Belmont Road Headquarters on Monday, Dr. Wheatley said: "The Government must break its silence on this issue and tell the Jamaican people what its position is, as it relates to VoIP. The Government must also clearly state how it intends to create the needed framework to encourage ICT development, growth and innovation, given the actions taken by the service providers".

"We are calling on the Government to have the service providers temporarily remove the blocks on VoIP applications until the O.U.R. completes its evaluation of the situation and a final decision is made. Similar actions have been taken in Trinidad & Tobago and we feel the same should apply here", he continued.

While imploring the Government to implement legislation and pursue policies that will address the current impasse, Dr Wheatley says the Opposition is of the view that: "......blocking applications and services in this manner can have an adverse effect on small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs, who rely heavily on the internet to launch their businesses, create a market, advertise their products and services, and distribute products to consumers".

The Opposition Spokesman pointed out that the JLP has been strident on the matter and has expressed concern, as the action by the service providers sets a dangerous precedent and is likely to adversely impact the country - at a time when we are encouraging greater use of ICTs for economic development, innovation and growth.

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