Bahrain’s Batelco fined by telco regulator

Company has 30 days to comply with order, otherwise fine will be increased.

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By  Martin Morris Published  September 14, 2009

Bahrain's telecoms regulator has fined Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) for preventing other operators from accessing the country's international data lines.

At issue has been access to the landing station for a submarine cable - Bahrain’s only connection to the international network - which is located on Batelco's premises.

The Telecommunications Authority (TRA) said Batelco had refused to supply space to other operators to gain access to the landing station and regarded reasons cited by Batelco for doing so as unjustified.

Batelco has 30 days in which to pay the fine, which may be increased or decreased depending on its response to the TRA order.

Alan Horne, director general of the TRA said: "The issues relating to access to the Flag International Landing Station have been identified for a period of time as a priority to be solved. TRA had hoped that Batelco would honour its obligations to provide the services necessary to allow other licensed operators direct access to Flag.

''Unfortunately this has not happened. Consequently the ability of other licensed operators to offer better value international and broadband internet services has been impacted.

TRA considers the actions of Batelco have been to the detriment of Bahraini citizens and the economy."

Horne added: "Having considered the gravity of situation TRA has decided to impose a substantial fine on Batelco which, should Batelco further delay the provision of these services, will increase.

But he noted that the fine will be decreased if, through Batelco's swift actions, the services are provided in advance of the ordered date.

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