Meyers confirms fiber optic cable has to land in Smitcoms manhole

POSTED: 03/20/12 3:05 PM

St. Maarten – Telecommunications Minister Franklin Meyers reacted in parliament yesterday to results of the lawsuit the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN) brought against him in an attempt to force his ministry to allow for the landing of a fiber optic cable from Saba and Statia in a manhole owned by telecom provider UTS.
“The government invested some $8.3 million in the SMPR-1 fiber optic cable. It is only logical to land that other cable in the Smitcoms manhole, but RCN still wanted to land it in the UTS-manhole.”
Meyers said that his ministry is not in a position to stop the sale of bandwidth on that cable “to companies that would potentially have given unfair competition to Smitcoms. As St. Maarteners we have to stand up and say no.”
Meyers added that it was unreasonable of RCN to take him to court over the matter.
“It is a bit like someone asking you to sleep with your wife and when you say no he takes you to court.”
The minister said that he had won the court case. In reality, the court rejected RCN’s request for a provisional ruling to treat it as if it were in the possession of all necessary permits to land the cable in St. Maarten.
UTS and Smitcoms are still in a bidding process for the cable project, but during a break in the meeting minister Meyers made clear that the cable will have to land in the Smitcoms manhole no matter what.
“Sometimes it is not about who is right but about what is right,” he said.

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