Date of Degree

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Political Science

Advisor(s)

Howard H. Lentner

Committee Members

Carolyn Sommerville

Irving L. Markovitz

Thomas Weiss

Basil Wilson

Subject Categories

Political Science

Abstract

In September of 1988, the government of Jamaica heralded its official entry into the information industry with the establishment of the US{dollar}2 million Jamaica Digiport International facility. The significance of this announcement was surpassed only by the state's decision to close the domestic telecommunications sector to competition as the global satellite regime and the global market embarked on its own course of liberalization. This decision spelt victory for one of two contending factions. On the one hand was Jamaica Promotions (Jampro), Jamaica's economic development agency, which attempted to liberalize the sector's use of satellite technology with the operation of the American Satellite Company. On the other hand, the Ministry of Public Utility and Transport, in conjunction with the international company Cable and Wireless, Telecommunications of Jamaica, Industrial Commercial Development (ICD), the National Investment Bank of Jamaica (NIBJ) and the international support of Comsat, elected to close the sector to competition.

The closing of the domestic telecommunications sector to competition raised two salient questions which this dissertation addresses. First, what explains Jamaica's failure to liberalize the sector's use of satellite technology, as demonstrated in its 1988 decision to prevent competition? Second, how was it possible to undertake this measure amidst the powerful forces of global market liberalization trends in the telecommunications sector as well as within the international satellite regimes of Intelsat, whose principles and practices endorsed liberalization in the provision of satellite services?;This dissertation concludes that there were two overriding sectoral characteristics which allowed Jamaica the ability to withstand these two powerful global forces. The first was compelling domestic interests in the sector that led to its closing. The second was the Intelsat regime itself, which acted to protect its monopoly. Intelsat's structure and the role played by signatories within the system functioned to protect the status quo of the single global organization and to bar the entry of other firms whose activities did not enhance Intelsat's investment goals. As a result, Intelsat's monopoly remained intact because of limitations placed by its signatories on the operation of competitive firms given that the liberalization of Jamaica's domestic satellite services was inconsistent with its signatories and their interests.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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