Thursday, July 27, 2017

UTech, Jamaica Presents Final Report on “Research on Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators”

Members of the UTech, Jamaica and Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica teams (from left) -  Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Ja., Prof. Anthony Clayton, Chairman, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, Mr. Cordell Green, Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission, Mrs Jodi-Ann Jackson, Project Manager, Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Valoris Smith, Lecturer, COBAM and project lead researcher, Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, FELS and communication specialist on the research team, and Mr. Okeeto DaSilva, Attorney-at-law and legal consultant on the research project team.

On a personal note .. 
My brother Sydney 'Tony' Lowrie who was a researcher on the Project, noted: 'The research and recommendations considered the importance of providing communication and media services to areas that are under-served as well as the  promotion of media literacy, provision of internship programmes for students, and facilitation for the development and broadcast of local content.'
I can attest to the importance of small cable operators with whom we have collaborated on such projects as Voter Registration. They have influence in their communities and deserve this recognition. Well done team UTECH!

Press Release from UTECH 

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, formally presented the final report of a consultancy research project undertaken for the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, examining the regulatory treatment of small cable operators in Jamaica.
The project, Research on the Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators, was conducted by a multi-disciplinary expert team led by Dr. Valoris Smith,Lecturer, College of Business and Management (COBAM), Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, and external attorney-at-law, Mr. Okeeto DaSilva. UTech, Jamaica was selected by the Broadcasting Commission in 2016 to participate in a competitive bid to undertake the research work.
In providing an overview of the project, Dr. Smith explained that the research was undertaken to provide findings and to make recommendations to the Broadcasting Commission on how the Subscriber Television (STV) operators within Jamaica should be regulated in relation to a tiered regulatory system.  The main focus of the research was on regulatory treatment of small STV cable operators.  The research included analysing large, medium and small STV operators with a view to considering a broader regulatory strategy to help to mature the STV industry.  Currently, Jamaica does not have a tiered regulatory STV system.
The researchers provided recommendations on regulatory and geographical boundary considerations related to the tiered regulatory system and various incentives to benefit the entire industry and in particular the small-sized STV operators. 
In receiving the report, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission,Prof. Anthony Claytonunderscored the Commission's objective of ensuring fair competition on a "level playing field" within the subscriber television industry.  Prof. Clayton said "the only way we can actually help to level the playing field is by looking for ways that we could reduce the cost and burden of regulatory compliance in Jamaica." 
"Highly Policy Relevant"
He pointed out that many small operators serve areas which are not economically attractive to other players, adding that putting them out of business would not result in a better provider, but in no provider at all. "We realised that what we need is to make the divisions more explicit and to build in a strong incentive to improve," he asserted.  The Chairman thanked UTech, Jamaica for the research which he noted is "highly policy relevant" and provides a good foundation "on the exact model we are going to choose."
President, UTech, Jamaica,Professor Stephen Vascianniecongratulated the research team led by Dr. Valoris Smith and the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship with Mr. Martin Henry as Project Manager for the coordinating role played in securing and managing the consultancy project. 
Prof. Vasciannie in welcoming the research partnership with the Broadcasting Commission said that "I think all of Jamaica will welcome the thrust by the Broadcasting Commission to facilitate the survival of small cable operators in the context of a more sophisticated and organised approach to regulation."  He added that the research "now paves the way for the Commission to utilize good evidenced-based data in pursuit of legislative amendments to facilitate the recommended three-tiered regulatory system for the STV industry." 
Corporate Communications Unit
Advancement Division
University of Technology, Jamaica
Photos: IMS, Calvin McKain Library
July 25, 2017

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