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New company prepares superfast home internet

Look, no wires: Nick Faries shows off the hardware behind East End Telecom’s new, fast wireless internet service

A new home internet service aims to cut out wires and offer speeds of 100 megabits per second using wi-fi technology.

Bluewave — developed secretly over the past year by East End Telecom — has almost completed a pilot programme and is set to launch within the next two months.

And the company is expected to boost job numbers with the hiring of frontline staff “in the next few weeks.”

Nick Faries, chief executive officer of the East End Group, the parent of the telecoms arm, said: “It’s a new company and it’s quite a far-reaching technology which is going to to have a major effect on internet services in Bermuda.”

He explained that Bluewave is a “completely wireless, modern, resilient ISP service based on a very tried and proven wireless technology which gives extremely good speed and internet service to residential customers.”

Mr Faries said: “The way it works is it’s completely wireless technology based on wi-fi standards, the same as any laptop or phone.

“It wirelessly distributes a high speed and we’re up and running live today, we’re setting 100 Mbps plans, although the technology can actually do quite a bit more than that.”

He added that the same technology could deliver “250 megabits plus to the house in other parts of the world.”

Mr Faries said that the firm, best known as a provider of two-way radios to civil and law enforcement bodies, was prompted to start Bluewave because senior management felt their own internet services were not up to scratch.

He added: “We are all frustrated technology users in Bermuda and this is where the decision to do this came from. Because we’re a wireless company, we were looking for a wireless solution, which this is.”

Mr Faries said: “We will have plans which are four, five, six times faster than existing plans and we’re actually doing that now and seeing these speeds in the field today.”

He added that although the technology involved had been around for a few years, it had evolved rapidly in recent times.

“As the technology has evolved, wireless has become many multiples faster than it was in the early days and as it evolved the price point came down significantly as well.

“We’re at a point today where the performance is fantastic, the technology has improved and the cost of ownership has reduced significantly — the evolution has really accelerated in the last two years.”

Mr Faries declined to discuss the cost of the new service.

But he said: “We will be very competitive. Our pricing will be out prior to going live. We’ve done multiple focus groups and surveys to come up with a fair pricing system.

“We’re finishing our pilot programme now and we will be moving into increasing the infrastructure build over the next few months, then we will be moving on to take customer enrolment.

“It’ll be a neighbourhood enrolment strategy. The idea is we would bring a neighbourhood live as we increase the number of access points throughout the island.”

Jamie Thain, chief technical officer, said: “Bluewave Internet intends to be Bermuda’s ISP technological leader through the utilisation of Wireless Internet Service Provider technology that will provide fibre-like speeds over the air. Our system will also deliver resilient high-speed corporate internet.”

Mr Faries added that there was room for another internet provider in Bermuda and that increased competition would benefit both companies involved and consumers.

He said: “The effect will be increased competition, which everybody has been asking for, a better product with better customer service and better support than that we see today.

“The effect of the technology is revolutionary — wireless is really the future direction for all of this. We’re in the wireless generation already.

“There is certainly room for three competitors in Bermuda and competition is going to make us all better. The whole idea is better service — we’re not just focusing on the technology and speed.

“We saw this in our focus groups. It’s all about customer service, technical support and value, getting what you pay for.”

And he predicted: “In the next generation, these speeds will increase exponentially and will do so with every generation.”

He explained that wireless internet was particularly effective for video streaming — as much as 75 per cent of traffic carried.

“It needs to be fast and have more bandwidth to carry these streams and we’ll need that more and more in the future.”

He added that the Bluewave network will carry voice as well as data.

“It’s not just access to your house, it’s access to your phone and tablet. If you’re a Bluewave customer, you’ll be able to roam the network islandwide.”