The BES Telecommunications Act forms the basis of the provision of telecom services.
For the telecoms sector, the policy aim of the Ministry for Economic Affairs is a continuation of the situation per 10-10-10 for a period of 3-5 years. In principle, the policy used until then by P&TB will be used (‘silent transition’). For example, there will be no question of full liberalization of the telecoms market as is the case in the Netherlands/European Union.
The initial years have been used to draw up an inventory of needs on the island, after which, and jointly based on this inventory, any changes will be implemented. If, in the future, changes in policy and law and legislation occur, then as much consideration as possible will be given to aligning this to the situation in the Caribbean Netherlands. Existing parties are involved in this process (by way of consultations, etc.)
In due course the introduction of the Telecommunications Act is anticipated
Changes to the working organization
Since the transition from Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius into ‘special municipalities’ of the Netherlands (Caribbean Netherlands) per October 10th, 2010, Agentschap Telecom and the Consumer Markets Authority (ACM) have been responsible for implementing and overseeing things such as the BES Telecommunications Act and the BES Postal Act.
Between 2010 and 2016, Agentschap Telecom and ACM outsourced operational tasks to the Post & Telecommunication Bureau. In this period, the P&TB, as well as its own tasks for Curacao, took on implementation and oversight tasks for the BES islands, under the responsibility of Agentschap Telecom and ACM. However, this arrangement came to an end on 31st December 2016. Because Agentschap Telecom has since become well situated locally, it will now be conducting these tasks itself.
What has changed?
The office on Bonaire, including the monitoring station, has become Agentschap Telecom and the current employees now work for the Kingdom.
Since January 1st, 2017 you still can reach the office at Kaya Grandi 69 on Bonaire, by telephone +(599) 717-3140 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All work has continued as before, as you are used to, the only difference is that the employees are now supported in their financial, legal and policy tasks from the Netherlands, rather than from Curacao. This also applies to work conducted for ACM.
Just to put the record straight about the subjects about which you can consults the staff on Bonaire:
- Applying for permissions for frequency use;
- Information about which radio equipment you can use with/without permission;
- Information about importing radio equipment (customs);
- Submitting complaints about disruption on or due to radio equipment;
- Submitting complaints about the quality of service of telecom providers.
Agentschap Telecom has made good agreements with P&TB to ensure the transition to the new situation is as smooth as possible. Both parties will do everything they can to prevent you from experiencing any disruption.
The transition does not mean that the partnership is entirely over. Agentschap Telecom and P&TB will, even after January 1st, 2017, continue to work together on specific areas. For example, support during disasters and having a ‘fallback’ role for Agentschap Telecom. P&TB will also maintain a role in the international synchronization of frequency use in the region and in representing the interests of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom during international conferences about radio frequencies.
The partnership will manage knowledge sharing and development, including internships and partnership in the developments of policy and legislation.
Is there a frequency plan for the Caribbean Netherlands?
Yes, there is a frequency policy plan.
Will there be new call signs for the Caribbean Netherlands?
No, the current call signs used for the Netherlands Antilles will continue to be used. Your call sign will not change. For Bonaire this is PJ4, for St. Eustatius PJ5 and for Saba PJ6.
Radio amateurs from the Netherlands may use their own call sign, adding Bonaire /PJ4, St. Eustatius /PJ5 and Saba /PJ6.
Who will publish the maritime frequencies and who will monitor this?
The implementation and monitoring is the responsibility of Agentschap Telecom. The agency will also publish the call signs.
Trade and equipment
Do the EU guidelines (R&TTE and EMC) apply to the Caribbean Netherlands?
The cabinet has decided that when it comes to the Caribbean Netherlands, EU legislation will continue to have the same status as now. The Netherlands Antilles have, within the EC directive, the so-called status of Overseas Territories (LGO), which means that EU law does not apply in principle to the Caribbean Netherlands. Just as is the case with the other countries outside of the Netherlands which are within the Kingdom, unless this is explicitly declared otherwise. The R&TTE directive does not apply to the Netherlands Antilles and, from October 10th , it still doesn’t apply to the Caribbean Netherlands.
The current import limitations will remain in force for as long as there is a LGO status (so EU rules will not apply unless…) for the Caribbean Netherlands. The Dutch Telecommunications Act states that ‘trading' does not apply to the Caribbean Netherlands. The Caribbean Netherlands does not fall under the EER, as in this context, it is a so-called third country.
Who distributes the numbers?
Agentschap Telecom will distribute the numbers. Number requests can be submitted to the offices of Agentschap Telecom. Very little will change for you in this respect.
Will the international code for the Dutch Antilles remain the same?
The code +599 for all of the countries that previously were part of the Dutch Antilles will remain the same. Sint Maarten has moved over to using + 1 721 as its international code.
Will the other numbers (net number and subscription number) stay the same?
Yes, these numbers will remain the same.
Which emergency number should be used?
Both 112 and 911 can be used as emergency numbers.
Will the tariffs for permissions and concessions change?
The tariffs will remain the same.
Who will charge the tariffs?
The agency is authorized to apply the tariffs to the holders of permissions and concessions and will also send out invoices and recovers costs.
Will the Law on Information Exchange via underground networks come into force in the Caribbean Netherlands?
The Law on Information Exchange via underground networks will not come into effect in the Caribbean Netherlands.