US$60 million submarine fibre-optic cable lands in Guyana
…Jagdeo announces major ICT projects
The Guyana end of a 700-mile submarine fibre-optic cable was landed off the Atlantic Coast at Kingston yesterday, sparking hopes of a telecommunications revolution in the country.
The installation of the cable is a US$60 million joint venture between the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and Suriname communications giant, Telesur.
Major General (retired) Joseph Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of GT&T said that the cable will provide 3,000 times the bandwidth currently available through the Americas II cable and satellite links.
President Bharrat Jagdeo congratulated GT&T for its “visionary” move and said it was a “bold and necessary” step to facilitate the growth of information and communications technologies (ICTs).
“When the world has gone so far in the development of ICT…we’re yet to have in Guyana reliable, cost-efficient bandwidth,” lamented Jagdeo.
The cable will become operational in six months.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo announced that the government has already made a down-payment on another fibre-optic cable which will be routed through Brazil. This will specifically address e-governance, through which the government will use ICTs with the aim of improving information and service delivery, encouraging citizen participation in the decision-making process and making government more accountable, transparent and effective.
Jagdeo also announced that the government is working with China on a major ICT project that would use ICTS to better do business and provide education, among other services.
He said that the government is focusing on bridging the digital divide within the country and could possibly offer subsidies to GT&T to provide internet access to poor communities with internet access.
With the investment between the telecommunication providers of Guyana and Suriname, the two countries will be on equal footing with the most developed countries in terms of infrastructure of their international telecommunications connectivity, providing unlimited and secure bandwidth for business operations.
In the case of possible interruptions, the Americas II cable will function as a full backup to the new system. The Americas II system will be upgraded.
The terrestrial Americas 11 Cable has faced constant problems over the years, leaving the country without internet access on several occasions. Because the Americas 11 is a land-based cable, disruptions resulted during road and water works, and also due to sabotage.
The new fibre-optic cable runs under the sea, and thus eliminates those cases of “blackouts”, the GT&T CEO pointed out.
The cable installation and related marine services are being provided by Global Marine Systems Limited (GMSL), the largest independent provider of submarine cable installation and maintenance and will rely on Huawei Marine Networks’ (HMN) innovative, optical transmission technology.
When the cable is completed, it will enable current services and future, next-generation services at the highest industry standards and at a competitive cost. It will dramatically improve telecommunications delivery and the delivery of communications services generally and thereby place the enormous potential of ICT within the grasp of every Guyanese, GT&T said.
“This project represents a major milestone in the company’s operational development as well as reason for all Guyana to celebrate. We look forward to working collaboratively with Government, the private sector, the regulatory agencies and indeed all stakeholders to exploit fully the opportunities that the …cable will provide,” GT&T added.
Major General Singh said that with the country celebrating its 19th anniversary this month and with the country observing its 40th Republic anniversary celebrations, the cable is GT&T’s gift to Guyana.