Digicel has blocked VoIP access (Viber, Tango etc) in Haiti, Trinidad and Jamaica. Other cell phone carriers such as Lime have done so as well. This has generated a firestorm on Caribbean social media, at least one petition and a reaction by the Trinidadian Telecom regulatory body which reinstated VoIPs in Trinidad while it deliberates the issue.
Join me in my capacity as LOF1804 weekly host and head of the Americas Desk at Internet Without Borders this Friday July 11 at 9PM EA as I welcome:
- Gerard Best, a tech blogger and T&T Guardian contributor;
- Michele Marius from the ICT Pulse blog in Jamaica;
- Pascal Antoine, President of HaitiXchange and tech entrepreneur in Haiti and
- Gary Dauphin, LA based Haitian-American digital media manager who spoke about net neutrality on LOF1804 a few weeks ago.
For more background on the issue:
Listen live at http://tobtr.com/s/6670679 or on the phone at 323-927-2913.
You can listen to past shows at http://www.kiskeacity.com/search/label/LOF1804 or by searching "Legacy of 1804" or subscribing to the Black Whole Radio feed in iTunes.
We have a new show link because of technical difficulties:
I'm broadcasting live on the air! Listen in now at http://tobtr.com/s/6670679. #BlogTalkRadio #lof1804 #digicel #VoIPs
UPDATE 2 (SHOW AUDIO):
UPDATE 3 - HIGHLIGHTS:
Speakers gave us an update of where things stand in their respective jurisdictions. In Trinidad services have been restored while TATT deliberates. In Haiti and Jamaica, applications are still blocked.
Pascal Antoine pointed out that Digicel's competitor NatCom has not blocked VoIPs.
Panelists answered the following questions and more:
Why have Haiti's Conatel and its Jamaican equivalent still not pronounced themselves on the VoIP block?
Why are cell phone providers doing this block now?
Have workaround applications to the block surfaced in the Caribbean?
How long have cell phone providers wanted to block VoIPs? According to Michele Marius this is just the latest development in a long battle between carriers and VoIPs.
Is this a dangerous precedent for net neutrality in the region and globally? What if Digicel decides it wants to block an app by a Haitian congressional candidate it does not like?
What is the state of Caribbean innovation?
New Education Podcasts with Black Whole Radio on BlogTalkRadio
Gerard Best generously curated the following links for us during the show:
ICT Pulse: Mixed Signals http://www.ict-pulse.com/2014/07/case-mixed-signals-blocking-voip-caribbean/
Bevil Wooding—Defending An Open Caribbean Internet: http://www.siliconcaribe.com/2014/07/07/defending-an-open-caribbean-internet/
Jacqueline Charles—Miami Herald: Cellular providers block ‘free’ call apps in Caribbean angering consumers: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/10/4229297/caribbean-cellular-provides-block.html
Digicel Haiti blocks VoIP: http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2014/06/25/digicel-haiti-blocks-voip-applications/
Digicel Haiti and Conatel in talks: http://m.lenouvelliste.com/lenouvelliste/article/133181/Il-ny-a-pas-que-de-mauvaises-nouvelles.html#.U70gAKd86KQ.email
Digicel mulls banning Viber, other 'unlicensed' VoIP services in Jamaica: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/.../business/business2.html
Digicel, LIME follow through on VoIP blockade: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/.../business/business3.html
Digicel and LIME Jamaica block VoIP: http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2014/07/03/digicel-and-lime-block-voip-providers/
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Digicel wants Viber, Tango, Nimbuzz providers to pay
The T&T Guardian reported that Digicel agreed to allow its customers to access VoIP applications Viber, Tango and Nimbuzz once again after the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) started an investigation into complaints made about Digicel’s action. http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-07-09/digicel-returns-voip-services
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