The BES Telecommunications Act is the basis for offering telecommunications services.
The policy objective of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation for the telecommunications sector is a continuation of the existing situation for a period of 3-5 years. In principle, the policy that has been conducted so far by BT&P will be maintained (“silent transition”). There will be for example no (not yet a) full liberalization of the telecommunications market as is the case in the Netherlands/European Union.
The first few years will be used to identify the needs on the islands, after which also based on this inventory possible changes will be made. If changes of policy and legislation and regulations will take place in the future, then the situation in the Caribbean Netherlands will be taken into account and adhered to as much as possible. Existing parties (through consultations etc.) will be involved in this process.
In time, the introduction of the Telecommunications Act is also planned. With regard to the regulatory framework the neighboring islands will also be consulted where possible. Both Aruba and Curaçao are in a process to adopt a variant to the Dutch Telecommunications Act. By taking into account the content of the legislative framework between the countries in the Kingdom, discrepancies between the systems can be limited. A limited diversity of regulations between the countries also contributes to a reduction of administrative burdens.
The operator and supervisor in the field of telecommunications in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency, has been appointed as supervisor and implementer of the telecommunications and postal regulations in the Caribbean Netherlands.
The Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency will, in addition to the inventory and the going concern, put efforts into reducing the administrative burdens for entrepreneurs to obtain an authorization or concession.
For the execution of the telecommunications tasks the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency has partnered with the ‘Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post’ of Curacao (BTP). This means that BT&P commissioned by the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency will perform activities in the Caribbean Netherlands. BT&P will remain visible in the actual execution of the telecommunications legislation and will continue supervising the compliance thereof. BT&P will also take on the actual execution of the postal legislation and supervision. The actual decisions will be made by the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency. Objections and appeals will also be handled from the Netherlands. These agreements have been formalized in a service level agreement between Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency and BT&P.
Furthermore, see the following frequently asked questions:
Where do I apply for, amend or have an authorization or concession revoked?
You may continue filing these requests with the BT&P. BT&P will continue implementing this. The final authorization or amendment, or its revocation will be signed by the Agency.
Who monitors illegal use of frequencies?
Commissioned by the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency the actual supervision is performed by the staff of BT&P. The employees have been assigned by the Supervisor’s Appointment Decree of the BES Telecommunications Act by the Minister of Economic Affairs.
Who is going to do the international coordination (ITU etc) for the Caribbean Netherlands?
BT&P will do this regionally as part of its responsibility. The Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency participates with the Directorate-General for Telecommunications, Postal Services and Markets of the Ministry of EL&I in the ITU and associated agencies. The interests of the Kingdom are considered in this.
Is there a frequency plan for the Caribbean Netherlands?
Yes, there is a frequency policy plan for the Netherlands Antilles. For the time being, this plan will remain in force also after October 10th for the Caribbean Netherlands.
Radio transmission amateurs
Will new call signs be introduced for the Caribbean Netherlands?
No, the current call signs that were granted for the Netherlands Antilles will be maintained. Your call sign will therefore not change. The BES Radio Amateurs Decision was published on October 4th. The division for the Caribbean Netherlands has been included in it. For Bonaire this is PJ4, St. Eustatius PJ5 and Saba PJ6.
Radio transmission amateurs from the Netherlands may use their own call sign, under addition of Bonaire /PJ4, St. Eustatius /PJ5 and Saba /PJ6.
Who issues the maritime frequencies and who will monitor these?
The execution and supervision are part of the responsibility of the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency and are actually performed by BT&P. Therefore, BT&P performs the execution and supervision in the Caribbean Netherlands. The provision of maritime call signs is currently still channeled centrally through the Ministry of Traffic and Transportation in Curaçao. Further agreements on this are still in the works.
Trade and equipment
Are the EU-directives (R&TTE AND EMC) applicable in the Caribbean Netherlands?
The Cabinet has decided that with regard to the EU-regulations the Caribbean Netherlands will maintain the same status as they currently have. Within the EC-treaty, the Netherlands Antilles have the so called Overseas Countries and Territories (OTC) status. This means that, in principle, EU-law is not applicable for the Caribbean Netherlands, just as is the case for the remaining other countries than the Netherlands in the Kingdom, unless it is explicitly declared in effect. The R&TTE-directive is not in effect in the Netherlands Antilles and after October 10th it will still not be in effect in the Caribbean Netherlands. The current import restrictions remain in force as long as there is a Caribbean Netherlands OTC-status (thus EU-regulations are not applicable unless…). In the Dutch Telecommunications Act the ‘market launch’ is not applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands. After all, the Caribbean Netherlands is not covered by the EEA, but qualifies as a so-called third country in this context.
Who issues the numbers?
The Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency issues numbers through BT&P. Therefore, you may file applications for numbers with BT&P. The agency is officially authorized to issue. The actual implementation will be done by BT&P. Little will change for you.
Will the international code for the Netherlands Antilles be maintained?
The code +599 will remain for all countries that formerly were part of the Netherlands Antilles. St. Maarten will switch to country code + 1 721.
Will the other numbers remain the same (area code and subscriber’s number)?
Yes, these numbers remain the same.
Which emergency number is applicable after October 10?
Both 112 and 911 are the emergency numbers.
Is there a number plan for the Caribbean Netherlands?
Yes, there is a number policy plan for the Netherlands Antilles. For the time being, this plan will remain in force as well after October 10th for the Caribbean Netherlands
Will the fees for authorizations and concessions be adjusted?
The fees remain the same.
Who charges the fees?
The agency is authorized to impose fees to among others the holders of authorizations and concessions. BT&P will send the invoices and collect.
Will the Underground Grids Information Exchange Act enter into force in the Caribbean Netherlands?
The Underground Grids Information Exchange Act will not enter into force in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Is the Space Travel Activities Act in effect in the Caribbean Netherlands?
Yes, this is in effect. The supervision and implementation of the law are in the hands of the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency.
Where shall I apply for a permit for the launch, control and guidance of a space object?
You may submit these requests at the Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency, P.O. Box 450, 9700 AL in Groningen.