conatel - Haiti Observer Blog

CONATEL, Haiti Observer Blog. Read the following articles about CONATEL


CONATEL & State University Of Haiti (UEH) Sign Agreement

On Friday, March 13, 2015, Jean-Marie Guillaume, the Director General of the National Council of Telecommunications (CONATEL) and Jean Vernet Henry, Rector of the State University of Haiti (UEH) has signed a protocol agreement between the two institutions towards strengthening a common legal and regulatory framework on the telecommunications sector. Mr. Guillaume has described this unison beyond a simple cooperation. The partnership will not only broaden the scope of radio and television broadcasting and sound digital planning, this will promote and revitalize the health of the telecommunications sector in a way so that it can contribute more to the national economy.

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Conatel wants to regulate internet services, magicJack, Skype

The government of Haiti (GOH) is concerned about the growing popularity of two Internet services that permit consumers to make calls overseas for very affordable or no rates at all. The GOH claims the services are causing the GOH to lose revenues.

One of the services, magicJack, is a device that uses the USB port of a computer and a landline phone jack to place unlimited calls to Canada and the U.S. The technology is called VoIP, which means Voiceover Internet Protocol. The other service, Skype (also VoIP technology), uses a computer microphone, webcam, and instant messaging to place calls worldwide. If calls are placed to another user, who also has Skype installed on their computer, the calls are free.

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Haitian government wants to fight internet calls, MagicJack, Skype

If the Haitian government could have it his way, to communicate with a friend or family member outside of Haiti, you would have to go back to the time when you go to Teleco, pay a huge fee. Then, you ask the operator to make the call. You wait in the waiting room from anywhere between one to four hours. Finally, there is contact, you are called to go to a small "cabine". If you are lucky, the person is there. You need to speak loudly in order for the person to hear you; at the same time, everyone else become part of the conversation.

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National Education Fund (FNE)

Upon his election in April 2011, Martelly vowed to provide free education to Haitians. He went on with this plan by launching the National Education Fund (FNE), which was supposed to be funded by taxes collected from international calls and money transfers. Even though the constitution denies the president the power to levy taxes, the government pushed through with Martelly's plan.

The program sounded promising but six months after its implementation, concerns started to arise, with people asking where the fund is being used. Martelly himself said he didn't know the exact amount the plan has collected so far and pointed journalists to CONATEL, which is the one managing the fund. CONATEL then revealed that only Digicel and COMCEL were included in their accounts. No one can say how much the fund is. Some said it's $28 million, while others insisted that it's only $2 million.

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Government Institutions Addressing Haitel Problem

Haiti Telecommunication International (Haitel) is now in receivership as a result of its tax problems with the government. General Tax Directorate (DGI) director general Jean Baptiste Clark Neptune announced that the request for Haitel's receivership was approved in order to continue the company's operations and protect its employees and shareholders. Neptune clarified that the measure was taken not to close the telecommunication company but to help it resume its operations.

It can be recalled that Haitel has been buried in debt. Since 2005, it has accumulated a debt of more than $80 million in government taxes from several institutions such as DGI, National Council of Telecommunications (CONATEL), BRH and BNC, among others. The total debt accounts for 40% of government taxes.
CONATEL director Jean Marie Guillaume, who held a meeting with the DGI director, said that Haitel could no longer keep up its operation. It does not have money to pay its employees and purchase fuel for its generations anymore. As a matter of fact, the director added, Haitel's employees have not received their salary for over five months.

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