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Minister of Public Utilities Un-Phased by Cable Monopoly

Central Cable & Internet and Centaur Cable have now become the dominant players in Belize’s cable industry. This comes after the two providers made major acquisitions in the last two months. Since both Centaur and Central also offer internet services, they are in direct competition with the Government-owned BTL. As such, the reports suggest that there could be a conflict of interest since Centaur is owned by Prime Minister Briceno’s family. We put the question to Minister of Public Utilities, Rodwell Ferguson today.

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics: “We can’t force anybody who wants to sell their interest to another interest but the purpose of government is to to promote competition but if they really want to bargain and merge then that is their obligation. Like I said we are promoting competition in this country and every company has a right to merge and so I don’t think it’ll be a concern for cabinet.

In November, for example, Central bought over one of its major competitors, Channel Broadcasting Cable (CBC). As a result, Central’s dominance from Belize City to the west has been cemented. Centaur, based in Orange Walk, continues to maintain its control of cable distribution from the northern entrance of Belize City at Haulover all the way to the Corozal Free Zone. They solidified their position as well by its recent acquisition of Baymen Cable in Corozal District. Love News understands that Central and Centaur have collaborated to purchase another cable provider, Southern Cable Network, whose dominance spanned communities from Dangriga southward to Punta Gorda. Southern’s owner, Darren Dunker, we also understand, has sold to a consortium of the two big companies just this past month. The changes now mean that by and large Centaur and Central control a large majority of the cable market in Belize, save for Alternative Networks in Cayo and Belize Coral Cable on San Pedro.///