Telecommunications company Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Limited (C&W), trading as FLOW, will not be able to increase prices on non-competitive services above three per cent for the next three years under the new Fair Trading Commission’s (FTC) Price Cap Plan 2016.
This notice comes days after the company advised its customers of price increases and additional speed to most of its internet services.
The FTC announced its decision on a new Price Cap Plan 2016 for all customers of C&W, including those acquired as part of the acquisition of Columbus Telecommunications.
The FTC said in a statement that effective April 1, 2016, the overall price increase on non-competitive services would be below or equal to the level of inflation, or three per cent per year, if inflation exceeds three per cent during that year.
In the case of negative inflation, the allowable overall price increase will be zero for that year, the FTC said.
The Price Cap Plan 2016 will be based on two service baskets – basket one for ‘competitive’ services and basket two for ‘non-competitive’ services.
According to the FTC, competitive services include “all regulated services for which the level of competition is deemed to be sufficient to prevent excessive pricing by the company”.
Non-competitive services, on the other hand, include “all regulated domestic voice, fixed lines, associated value added services and domestic private leased circuits” as well as all services previously offered by Columbus Telecommunications.
The FTC said while competitive services would not be subject to an overall price cap, advance notification requirements would be set out in the forthcoming Price Cap Compliance Rules and Procedures 2016.
The regulatory body added that given the importance of residential services to customers, “a sub-cap with similar conditions to those imposed for the non-competitive services has also been placed on fixed-line services.
“In each year, the company’s ability to raise the prices of these services will be restricted, such that annual price increases will be below or equal to the level of inflation or three per cent a year in case inflation exceeds three per cent during that year,” the FTC said.
In its notice to customers, the telecommunications company outlined that its Basic plan would attract a price increase of $5; Essential will cost $3 more while there would be a $10 increase for the Plus, Max and Turbo packages. The Ultra plan will remain unchanged.
The speeds of the various packages will also be increased, some by more than seven times the original speed. The changes will take effect May 1, 2016.