A new horizon for high-speed internet
Bermuda’s new internet is wireless-delivered, high speed and has a faster and easier deployment using equipment that may eventually allow for higher than 10 gigabytes per second, providing a wide range of options for business.
After three years, the start-up Horizon Communications began making connections in May and found Hamilton businesses ready to sign up for its high-speed Terragraph technology that Gilbert “Artie” Darrell says is a game-changer for internet connections.
He has launched VOIP (voice over internet protocol) alongside business internet services — the business gigabit wireless mesh system, Terragraph.
And with a better, faster, more secure internet, the telephone service that comes with it should also improve over traditional VOIP telephony.
“Visibility is what we need now,” said the grandson of the former long-time businessman and popular politician, Gilbert Darrell.
“We know we are better, faster and cheaper already.”
But right now, he says, his company is delivering the kind of technology that used to be reserved for only the big companies because of the difficulty and expense of deployment.
Mr Darrell said: “Horizon has changed all of that with our partners. This is now a technology for the people. If we have competition, it's against coax or fibre optic. But think how many homes all feed from one cable.
“There is a reason Fortune 500 and financial companies use wireless technologies for their needs. It's more secure. It's harder to disrupt or damage. And it's proven to be faster (lower latency) than fibre, certainly than co-ax or copper.”
Meanwhile, with increasing privacy concerns, and worries about cyber attacks and government surveillance, Mr Darrell is confident in the security of the new technology.
He said: “Our technology is not only very hard, if not impossible to ‘tap’ into. Unlike traditional landline services, all data over our network is encrypted.
“There was a test done by a US government agency to try and tap into, hack or interfere with the same radio technology we have. They were unsuccessful.
“Typically the average user is also running encryption such as HTTPS when using their internet services.
“In the information technology world, no one should be brave enough to say that their service or systems are ‘unhackable’ and we will always comply with lawful orders from the government.
“But having built-in encryption in our network is one of the best things we can do to protect people's privacy.”
The dead spots in wi-fi coverage is a sticking point for residential customers.
They often blame their internet service providers for issues caused by Bermuda stone homes. Horizon will, like other ISPs, eventually launch products to help eliminate dead spots in the home.
But Mr Darrell won’t turn his attention fully to residential until he fulfils the business rollout.
He said that companies are interested in the new, high-speed technology, the speed at which they can be connected and the 20 per cent savings he believes he can achieve.
He said: “Horizon launched in Hamilton first, as it's the core or centre of our network and our home base. However, we have built distribution sites all across Bermuda and soon we'll be east, west and everywhere in between.
“We live in Bermuda and we're here to serve Bermuda.
“For business customers we can provide service to nearly any building on-island, all on our own independent network.
“We have already signed up residential customers very early on and will be launching a wider residential service later this year.”
The technology is next generation. He said there is a strong crossover in speed, quality and capability between what 5G offers and the gigabit mesh network he is providing through his partners, Siklu.
Mr Darrell said: “In fact, the technology we are using is a part of the 5G standard. However, this is not 5G in terms of mobility.
“This is dedicated gigabit, resilient, mesh services to business customers. We are excited to launch new and additional services in the coming months for both business and residential.”
Business service is available via the wireless network nearly anywhere in Bermuda and all over Hamilton. Residential is available currently in specific locations and soon Horizon will be doing a full rollout of services, parish by parish.