Telecommunications in Bermuda is undergoing root and branch reform with a view to not only making the industry more competitive but more attractive to investors. The commitment to change has been signalled by the establishment of the much-needed, long-overdue Regulatory Authority and an easing of restrictions on foreign investment.
The overhaul in telecommunications, following extensive consultation with stakeholders, is embodied in two key pieces of legislation, the Regulatory Authority Act 2011 and the Electronic Communications Act 2011, both of which will become the twin foundation of Bermudian Regulatory Reform.
One of the more important changes will be the removal of the requirement for separate licence categories based on services provided and the introduction of a single standard communications licence.
Bermuda now boasts a new licensing and supervisory regime for professional corporate service providers designed to enhance the efficiency of incorporations in Bermuda. The changes, which came into effect at the start of the year, are regarded as good news for Bermuda as they will eliminate double vetting, decrease the need for due diligence on shareholders with voting rights of less than 10 percent and improve the efficiency of registration by using an electronic system that gives immediate results.
In the ideal case a company could now be formed and registered within an hour.
The new regime was established under the Bermuda Corporate Service Provider Business Act (“the CSP Act 2012”) which came into effect on January 1st, 2013.
Bermuda has a new Government which has promised to shore up the Island’s position as a world leader in insurance, reinsurance, international business and finance. They also have hopes of re-establishing Bermuda as a premier tourism destination.
The promises from the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) came in the Throne Speech delivered on the first day of Parliament following the new Government’s election in mid-December last year.
Plans on how they intend to achieve their goals were then unveiled in the Government’s first Budget presented in late February. Notably, the new Minister of Finance committed to “a new direction for the manner in which the economy of Bermuda and the finances of the Bermuda Government are managed”.