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As the Guyana Government continues to face questions over embarrassing disclosures that it gave itself and close friends several licences to build radio and cable television services countrywide, at least one Caribbean country has publicly indicated that it is preparing to auction some of these limited resources.Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority, similar to that of Guyana’s National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), has said it will be selling to the highest bidders two 700-megahertz (MHz) band licences to improve Internet penetration in that country.It will highlight how valuable Jamaica considers its spectrum, a resource that is jealously guarded worldwide by Governments because of the power of radio, TV and the internet. Potential investors will have to make a deposit of between US$2.7M ($540M) to US$3M ($6M), depending on the band they are going after, just to be considered for the bid, according to the Jamaican Observer yesterday.The report disclosed that the authority will require a bank guarantee or bond in the amount of 50 per cent of the proposed purchase price. The more expensive licence will cost at least US$5M more.Aside from the US$85M that the Jamaican government hopes to get from the sale this year, the Government also wants to see spending on ICT infrastructure increased from the US$80M spent annually now, while boosting commercial activity and education through information technology.“This is in keeping with global trends and is consistent with the policy objectives of the Government to promote increased competition and also to provide all Jamaicans with access to ubiquitous communications connections,” the spectrum authority said in the statement.Bids will have to include a business plan, which details the percentage population coverage after each year of expected rollout as well as the anticipated capital expenditure.The spectrum being sold allows for the provision of 4G technology, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is a highly effective next-generation mobile technology that allows delivery of data, Internet applications,Cheap Wholesale NFL Jerseys, video streaming, mobile TV and music downloads and streaming to mobile devices in higher definition than is possible with existing 3G technologies and at speeds that rival current domestic fixed broadband connections.The issue of limited spectrum has also been a cause of much concern in Guyana after former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, used his executive powers to grant several persons, including his party’s newspaper, The Mirror, five frequencies to broadcast across the country. Representing Mirror is Dharamkumar Seeraj, a PPP Parliamentarian.This was days before his Presidential term was due to end in November 2011 when General Elections were held.The move has widely been seen as carefully planned by Jadgeo and the ruling party to control the airwaves of Guyana. Jagdeo also granted five frequencies to his personal friend, Dr. Ranjisinghi “Bobby” Ramroop and another five to Omkar Lochan, Permanent Secretary of Natural Resources Minister,NFL Jerseys Cheap, Robert Persaud. Persaud happens to be the nephew-in-law of Jagdeo.The former President did not stop there. He also granted two television cable licences to close associates–Brian Yong and Vishook Persaud. Persaud is the son of the late former Government Parliamentarian and Agriculture Minister,Cheap Jerseys China, Reepu Persaud, while Yong was a candidate for the ruling party during the 2011 elections.Reportedly, the 2.5 Gigahertz band to Persaud and Yong are capable of offering other services, including catering to smartphones and the popular tablets computers. Radios and telephone services could also be offered using this band.There have been several protests by local media houses which had applications in for radio licences but were inexplicably sidelined when Jagdeo made his decision. There are indications that no procedures were followed and that the former President merely used his executive powers,Cheap Atlanta Braves Jerseys, knowing he had days left in office.The Donald Ramotar administration, hard pressed to recall the licences, has defended Jagdeo, saying he did nothing wrong. They were silent on accusations that one businessman – Maxwell Thom- was granted a licence although he was facing financial problems in 2011. One of the criteria was for the applicant to show that he/she has the finances.Both Kaieteur News and Stabroek News,Wholesale Cheap Jerseys, two independent newspapers,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, were sidelined by Jagdeo. They and others are now being asked to submit fresh applications.The Opposition has since expressed worry over the developments especially in light of the fact that frequencies are a limited resource which could very well place them at an unfair advantage because of political coverage in a particular direction.Local and regional media bodies have since condemned the allocations of the licences.Radio and television licences have been a sore issue between the Opposition and Government with an agreement brokered in early 2000 for no new ones until reforms in the broadcasting legislations. This was passed in the National Assembly during 2011.Jagdeo did not wait on the mandated Broadcast Authority to handle the licence despite the new law.
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