GREAT GAINS FLOWING TO BARBADOS’ TELECOMMUNICATIONS SECTOR
Investors are still showing confidence in this island’s economy, despite the current global recession.
Delivering the keynote address at Columbus Barbados’ 1st Anniversary Celebration at the Barbados Concorde Experience, the Minister noted the notion that Barbados is open for business should be taken seriously, adding this country needed new telecommunications entities such as Columbus.
He said: “From Government’s perspective, specifically to ICT and in relation to telecommunications, we recognise that this is an area that is really going to drive this economy and society forward…One of the best things we have done over the years is to open up our telecommunications market and allow competition to come in. That is not a criticism of others, but simply, to say that competition… is healthy and has proven to be extremely beneficial to Barbados.”
“Government has to provide the best enabling environment including the regulatory environment…Let me say that I am not a big believer in over regulation, but certainly having the right amount of regulation to ensure that when you enter the free market that you do so knowing full well the rules of the game and that consumers are protected… That is why as Minister responsible for the Fair Trading Commission I can say to you that we continue to work every day to ensure that the work of the Commission is done throughout this country, ensuring fair completion and regulations across the board,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Managing Director at Columbus Barbados, Niall Sheehy, said his organisation had achieved a series of “firsts” in the region. He pointed out that the company was the first to launch a fibre network to households and IPTV. He added that in November last year, Barbados officially became the first Caribbean island to have access to broadband speeds of up to 150 mbps- the fastest speeds available to residential customers anywhere in the Caribbean.
Reiterating a promise made last year at the launch of the company to deliver service to approximately 30 per cent of households by the end of 2013, Mr. Sheehy affirmed that this objective had been achieved with service available to almost 50 per cent of the island.
“And today, we service almost 60,000 homes, and expect to service over 80 per cent of the island by the end of the year. I can safely announce that to date, we are well ahead of schedule,” he affirmed.
He told those gathered that Columbus would be investing in excess of BDS$140 million to build a “cutting edge network” that would rival “anything else in the world“. Stating that a huge chunk of that investment to date had been spent on the construction of their new headquarters at the Warrens Orange Mall, he added that this building would house their operational, administration and main retail centre. The building is scheduled to be opened later this year. (TB/BGIS)