Bernard Hill, the chair of the Cook Islands competition and regulatory authority - 21042024
Bernard Hill is here to make sure our internet providers play fair. Hill was appointed to a three-year term at the beginning of last year as the chair of the Competition and Regulatory Authority.
The authority acts
independently of the government and regulates sectors appointed by Parliament.
Hill said he’s the
“referee” between businesses in the industries he regulates.
“As the referee, you do what
referees do – call foul when somebody breaches the competition rules with how
There has been no need for Hill to
call foul just yet because the telecommunications competition has just started.
“So the first job is to introduce
the competition... we’re really at the beginning,” Hill said.
With the passing into law of the Telecommunications
Act in 2019, internet service provider (ISP) licences are eligible to all
registered Cook Islands companies. There is no limit on the number of licenses
given out, Hill said.
So far Hill has given out four ISP
licences to Kuk i Net Ltd, ICT Nexus Ltd, AYA Ltd,
and ManaNet Ltd.
Hill said the current
volume of deals on offer by Vodafone is likely due to the anticipation of the
He said in all
respects Vodafone has been a good company that will become more consumer-focused with the competition.
“They’ve probably been expensive in
the past but I think that will change.”
Hill has previous experience in
this field – he is in his fourth role as a technical regulator. His most recent
role was in the Solomon Islands where he was the telecommunications commissioner.
He said regulating
telecommunications “can become
“People fight over customers, they
fight over access to each other’s networks.”
Hill’s portfolio will likely exceed
just telecommunications. There has been some indication that water and power
could also be regulated by the authority.