LinkBermuda aims to take Bermudas internet service to a higher level
Setting a new benchmark in communications infrastructure in Bermuda, LinkBermuda yesterday announced its investing tens of millions of dollars in building an Island-wide fibre-optic network that will deliver up to 100 megabit internet service to homes.
An executive with LinkBermudas Canadian parent, the Bragg Group, said the substantial investment shows the companys belief in the Island and its potential.
A speed of 100 megabits, offered in the US and Canada for some time, is almost ten times faster than most internet service available in Bermuda today, and LinkBermudas fibre optic network would offer speeds up to 100 MBps without degradation, enabling much faster video and document downloading.
LinkBermuda CEO Ann Petley-Jones said the company expects dozens of jobs to be created at the company in the long-term and in construction in the shorterm as LinkBermuda starts building the network as soon as the next few weeks.
She said LinkBermudas investment of several tens of millions of dollars was being made after the Government announced its commitment to implement long-awaited telecoms regulatory reform next spring, allowing providers to finally sell bundled phone, internet and TV/video service.
LinkBermudas announcement comes on the heels of BTCs announcement it will invest in an infrastructure upgrade that will allow 40 percent of homes on the Island to have 25Mbps internet access by next spring.
Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean has said Government will introduce ICOLs (Integrated Communications Operating Licences) next March, and plans to give an update on the reform process today.
CableVision, meanwhile has approval to provide internet at speeds of 15 and 25 MBps.
According to a report by Net Indexs Speedtest.net, as of September Bermuda, with an average download speed of 4.29 MBps, ranked 94 in the world, behind the US (ranks 34), Aruba (ranks 58), Grenada (ranks 74) and Libya (ranks 80). Hong Kong was No. 1 with an average speed of 42 MBps.
Ms Petley-Jones said the company expects its investment will help foster economic growth and materially improve the Islands communications infrastructure.
This Island-wide, state-of-the-art fibre-optic network project will position Bermuda as one of the most wired jurisdictions in the world, with resulting benefits to consumers, local and multinational companies, Government, and students, she said.
With the Governments commitment to timely implementation of telecom regulatory reform to be completed in March of next year, and our firm belief in Bermudas future, we are starting the first stage of this large, multiyear construction project.
Ms Petley-Jones added: When LinkBermuda purchased Cable & Wireless Bermuda operations we stated that we would be known for our integrity, our innovation and our intent to improve the infrastructure.
We remain committed to those principles. This is our third major investment in Bermuda over the past 18 months. In that time, we have repatriated many job functions from the UK to Bermuda, resulting in the hiring of additional Bermudians; we have invested in improved customer service, infrastructure and processes; and we have strengthened the operations.
We intend to continue those improvements to Bermudas communications infrastructure and to create additional employment for Bermudians. We will extend the innovative engineering and construction techniques to new products and services as Bermuda regulatory reform is implemented. In Canada our Group routinely offers 100-megabit internet service to the home, which is almost 10 times faster than most internet offerings in Bermuda today. Over the next few months we will be announcing a number of new products and services for the Bermuda market.
Minister Bean hailed LinkBermuda as an outstanding corporate citizen and said the announcement of the multimillion project was a good omen for Bermuda.
This will set the tone for other licenced service providers as these are the standards we should expect with the issuance of the first ICOLs, Mr Bean said.
Lee Bragg, CEO of Canadas EastLink, stated: We are delighted with our investments in Bermuda and recognise that Bermuda is a significant global player in international business and finance. We believe robust communications infrastructure is a prerequisite to maintaining Bermudas competitive position globally, whilst also materially enhancing the consumers access to and use of the latest technologies. This further major investment is indicative of our belief in the Island and its potential.
The Bragg Group, parent of EastLink, purchased Cable and Wireless (Bermuda) Holdings for $70 million last year.
FibreLinks program manager Edgar Dill said the network was designed to be future-proof.
The engineering details are well advanced and we plan to deploy advanced construction techniques for this fibre optic network build, Mr Dill said. We intend to build this network to a very high standard, which will enable us to integrate new communications technologies, both corporate and consumer, as they arise. This should allow our customers to be future proofed in terms of their broadband communications needs.
The network will be built using a combination of Belco poles and underground work over an 18 to 24 period. Services would be offered as neighborhoods are completed.
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