Issuance of broadcast licenses under former President Jagdeo fuels more controversy – 18th Mar 2013
Following controversy over why President Bharrat Jagdeo granted his best friend, Dr. Ranjshngi Ramroop and two other associates five radio frequencies each, questions are now being raised about why Jagdeo secretly rushed to sign a US$35 million deal with Chinese company, Huawei, to bring a wireless cable from Brazil.
There is speculation now that the cable deal was brought into the picture to facilitate those who were also granted licences under the 2.5 GHz band.
Jagdeo granted two persons cable licences on the 2.5 GHz band in December 2010. These were E-Networks’ owner, 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’s platform in the 2006 elections.
The services 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.
In early December 2010, Persaud introduced his company’s WiMax 4G Network. He launched the service the very month that he was granted a licence, indicating that he set up his technology even before being granted a license.
The same goes for Brian Yong, who started putting his infrastructure in place and waited to be handed his licence on a platter in December 2010.
The story becomes even more interesting when considering that Persaud’s company, E-Networks, teamed up with Huawei of China, to provide the WiMax network.
Huawei is the same company which Jagdeo’s Government granted the US$35 million contract to build a wireless system to provide a range of so-called E-Governance services. There was no formal announcement of the signing and neither were details of that project made available.
In fact, Jagdeo announced the Huawei contract at the launching of Persaud’s WiMax service.
Jagdeo said that the system being built by the Chinese, would hook up hospitals, police stations, military outposts and other facilities.
That brings the story back to Brian Yong, who said that his company would provide Guyanese Internet access for educational, commercial, and medical purposes – the same objectives of the Government’s planned use of the US$35 wireless cable system.
The granting of cable licences allows the licencees to offer what in the United States and other countries call, triple play—internet, television/radio and telephone services.