Mar 18, 2013 News
…grants cable licences to two buddies
…Vishok Persaud, Brian Yong set up shop before licence was granted
Apart from shocking disclosures that President Bharrat Jagdeo handed his friends and associates and political party multiple radio and TV licences, the granting of cable licences has shed light on a plot to snap up the entire telecommunications sector.
He granted cable licences to Vishok Persaud, the son of PPP stalwart Reepu Daman Persaud and to Brian Yong, a very close confidante.
The granting of cable licences allows the licencees to offer what in the United States and other countries is called triple play—internet, television/radio and telephone services.
Even without being coupled with cellular service Cable on the 2.5 GHz Band is a virtual monopoly in the telecommunication sector for whoever owns the licence. When a consumer accesses Cable with the triple play then regular landline services can become irrelevant.
The cable by itself monopolises the interactive flow of information and that is what Jagdeo has given to his two buddies.
Searches reveal that Jagdeo handed out the cable licences to control the electronic media.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Thursday, disclosed that the former President granted the two persons cable licences on the 2.5 GHz band in December 2010. These were E-Networks, under Vishok Persaud, the son of Reepu Daman Persaud, a stalwart of the ruling People’s Progressive Party; and Brian Yong, who Jagdeo invited to mount the PPP platform in the 2006 elections.
Both Vishok Persaud and Brian Yong are known to be close to Jagdeo and Winston Brassington, the man who manages Government’s investments.
The service offered by the two men, such as 4G requires both the availability of licensed airwaves – also called spectrum – from the government, and considerable private investment in infrastructure.
The revelations by the Prime Minister show that Jagdeo granted licences to facilitate the development of the already established business of his friends.
In early December, 2010 Persaud introduced his company’s WiMax 4G Network, opening up a wireless digital communication system to provide broadband wireless access, satellite services providing internet access and voice services to miners and companies in the interior, and other services.
This means that Persaud launched his service the very month that he was granted a licence. From all indications Persaud moved to set up his infrastructure knowing that he was assured of a licence from Jagdeo.
In normal circumstances, a person would await the granting of a licence before investing in infrastructure.
The case of Persaud resembles the scenario under which Yong was granted his licence. Yong received his licence in December, 2010.
He too started developing his business with the assurance that he would get a licence.
In January, 2009, Yong’s company signed a deal with O3b Networks, the developer of a new fibre-quality, satellite-based, global Internet backbone.
At that time, Yong boasted that “with less than 1% penetration of broadband Internet usage in Guyana, we feel we have a moral obligation to provide all Guyanese Internet access for educational, commercial, and medical purposes.”
Sure enough, Yong ventured into the business offering broadband satellites and cable TV and was granted his licence.
The 2.5 GHz band, under which Persaud and Yong were licenced, is currently used for electronic news gathering services (including television outside broadcasts). Spectrum in this band is being relocated worldwide to meet increasing demands for wireless broadband services.
Using the provisions of the 2.5 band, a number of initiatives can be undertaken, such as the rapid, unplanned deployment of links to cover breaking news events; planned use of group links employing a variety of techniques to provide specialist coverage of particular events; and electronic field production, which could be used to provide elements of a television production.
In other words, these two businesses could dominate the mass media landscape of the entire country.
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