The Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board is taking an active role in the international arena, voicing a need for greater transatlantic coordination and collaboration efforts to benefit markets across the globe, which stand to gain a lot from existing and emerging technologies.
At the invitation of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, known as BEREC, TRB President Javier Rúa-Jovet participated in its most recent gathering, lobbying for the advancement of issues such as roaming, net neutrality, user rights and quality of services.
Those key areas are the focus of a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between the European group and the Latin American Forum of Telecommunications Regulators, known as REGULATEL, as he explained during his participation in BEREC’s 20th plenary meeting held in Italy last month.
“As the Latin American territory geographically closest to Europe, and given our strong North American regulatory personality [and advanced state of our telecom market,] we are also quite close to Europe in what regards our interests and concerns. The BEREC/REGULATEL relationship is a cornerstone upon which much can be built, for the benefit of all our countries,” Rúa-Jovet said, referring to the Puerto Rico market he represented during the meeting.
Rúa-Jovet is the current vice president of REGULATEL, and will be taking over the chairmanship in November, when the organization will hold its plenary session in Puerto Rico, for the first time.
REGULATEL brings together 23 countries from Latin America and Europe and its mission is to enhance cooperation and coordination efforts among their telecom NRAs. The Latin American members are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela. Uruguay will join in San Juan. The European members are: Spain, Portugal and Italy.
“It’s really beneficial to be able to compare Puerto Rico to Latin America and Europe. Something I’ve found in doing so is that Puerto Rico fares relatively well in that comparison,” Rúa-Jovet said. “What was being discussed at the BEREC meeting is that while Europe is moving toward a single telecom market with three or maybe two providers in certain places, Puerto Rico remains strongly competitive with six operators. Latin America has mostly a duopoly.”
“Puerto Rico can feel good about how it is doing in certain areas, and could stand to benefit from learning from what’s being done in other countries that are doing things well,” he said, referring for example, to Portugal, which is developing a digital map of its country to determine where services are needed and which infrastructure is available to deploy them.
The upcoming REGULATEL plenary session, which is slated to take place at the Caribe Hilton Hotel and could pump about $1 million into the local economy, will help position Puerto Rico as a destination for these types of international gatherings, Rúa-Jovet said.
“We expect to have greater interaction between regulators and Puerto Rico’s telecom industry executives. That type of networking is key to learning how business is being done elsewhere,” he said. “The free trade of ideas is what precedes free economic trade. If people don’t get to know each other, and exchange ideas, there can be no activity at all.”
The event is slated to take place Nov. 16-18.