Telecom start-up frustrated by wait

  • Eager to start: Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, founder of Horizon Communications Ltd

    Eager to start: Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, founder of Horizon Communications Ltd

He wants to offer price and service quality competition to take on the established telecoms market companies, but for now Gilbert “Artie” Darrell can only kick his heels as he waits.

The company he founded, Horizon Communications Ltd, is ready to spring into action, but first it needs approval from the Regulatory Authority.

Mr Darrell said: “The country is in desperate need of new companies, job creation, and competition in the internet space.”

As a qualified applicant for an Integrated Communications Operating Licence, Mr Darrell had hoped the final nod from the RA would have come by July. But so far he has heard nothing.

He said: “We’ve been chasing the regulator about it, they were supposed to be having a meeting about it three weeks ago, then last week, and they have come and gone.”

He acknowledges that the RA is going though a busy time dealing with other matters, such as the application for the change of control of the licence held by power utility Belco, a subsidiary of Ascendant Group that is in the process of being taken over by Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp.

Mr Darrell said: “I know they are in the middle of the Belco decision. But you’d think that our ability to operate in the market would be a pretty simple decision.”

He is keen to put his start-up into action and give Bermuda residents a new telecommunications option at a time when the demand has increased as a result of the shift to working from home brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Horizon intends to deliver high-speed internet, voiceover IP and television services to homes and businesses wirelessly.

Mr Darrell said: “We are very happy that they [RA] have approved our application, and we have met all the criteria. We’ve got through the gate, but appear to be stuck in some bureaucratic process.

“We had been hoping to be operational for some of our services by October, but that increasingly seems unlikely.”

The Bermuda Infrastructure Fund will become Horizon’s main investor once the company had acquired the Icol. At that stage it will be able to import and test equipment and hire staff.

Horizon has a core team of three leading its development.

The Royal Gazette has contacted the RA for a comment.

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Published Aug 18, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 18, 2020 at 7:14 am)

Telecom start-up frustrated by wait

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