In 1980 when Vanuatu attained its political independence, TVL was the only service provider, providing telecommunications services in Vanuatu.
In 2007, the Government wished to end the era of monopoly and it introduced a Policy entitled: “2007 Telecommunications Policy Statement” (2007 Policy) that paved way to end the monopoly of telecommunications provision and introduce competition within the sector.
The 2007 Policy established four (4) guiding principles:
1. Open and competitive markets;
2. Modern, independent and proportionate regulation;
3. Non-discrimination and technology neutrality; and
4. Optimal use of scarce resources.
At that time, the Telecommunications/ICT industry was under the portfolio of the Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure.
The 2007 Policy further supported institutional efficiencies in promoting an independent regulatory body to regulate the sector, with the view of promoting confidence for investor and for the sector at large.
This led to the establishment of an interim Regulator in early 2008, as an individual, which was later established as an Office shortly afterwards that same year. This arrangement was pending the finalization of the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulation Act.
The idea of establishing an independent body under the 2007 Policy is based on international best practices and to ensure such body to effectively facilitate fair, transparent and equitable regulation, facilitation of effective and sustainable market competition, and provision of telecommunications services to unserved or under-served areas of the country.
A major focus of the Interim Regulator at that time, Mr. John Crook, 2008 – 2010 was:
• The facilitation and coordination of the settlement agreement between TVL (the incumbent) and the Vanuatu Government.
• Coordination of the major players’ Licences (TVL and Digicel) in preparation for Digicel’s launch on the 25th of June 2008.
• The establishment of an interconnection (agreement) between TVL and Digicel;
• Issuance of additional Licences.
• Coordination of an open licensing policy.
• The facilitation and coordination on the development of the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulation Act of 2009.
Some of the key activities during and after the liberation sector are as follows:
• 2008: Issuance of telecommunications licences to TVL and Digicel
• 2009: Further licences were issued to interested persons for the provision of the telecommunication services
2009: the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulation Act 2009 was passed and gazette.
• 2010: Interim Regulator, John Crook, contract ended.
• 2010: John Crook’s successor, Alan Horne, was appointed as the new Regulator.
• 2012: Alan Horne’s contract ended.
• 2013: Ronald Box replaced Alan Horne as the new Regulator for Vanuatu.
2013: World Bank extends its Grant for the next 3 years to ensure the benefits gained could be continued, further capacity built and to enable self-sustainability mechanisms to be put in place for the regulatory regime and institutional development in Vanuatu.
• 2015: Ronald Box's contract ended
• 2015: Dalsie Baniala replaced Ronald Box as the new Regulator for Vanuatu.
• 27 July 2018: Broadcasting's role and amendment of TRR act to TRBR act
• 2018: Dalsie Baniala's contract ended.
The appointment of a new Regulator is on the process.
John Obed Alilee, the Utilities Regulatory Authority (URA) regulator is the current Telecommunications, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR) as stated in the act.
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