By Palau Online News

PNCC to own fiber optic, to permit and regulate all telecoms

Fiber optic bill passed its 3rd reading in the Senate yesterday, after back-to-back sessions to address two major bills, the fiber optic submarine cable bill and the FY 2016 budget bill.

Congratulations though may not be in order yet, as people are still puzzling over the changes the Senate made to the House version of the Belau Submarine Cable Corporation bill.

The House bill 9-163, Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC), seeks to establish a public corporation to procure, own and manage a submarine cable to connect Palau to Guam.

Senate version which passed 3rd and final reading yesterday, changed the corporation from BSCC to PNCC.  Beside giving PNCC ownership and management of fiber optic cable, it amended Title 15 Chapter 3 of Palau National Code, giving PNCC exclusive rights over telecommunications.  It asserted,“The PNCC has exclusive rights over all commercial telecommunications and telecommunications services within the Republic of Palau.  No one may operate a telecommunications services within the Republic of Palau without first obtaining a permit from PNCC.  PNCC may charge reasonable fees for the issuance of permits.”

PNCC will establish regulations of “fair and impartial process for granting permits…”.  Any telecommunications service already in operation, have one year to obtain license from PNCC, when this becomes law, according to Senate version.

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