Qualfon gears for major expansion
- installation of Brazil fibre optic link to start within three months – President Jagdeo
The installation of the fibre optic link from Brazil, which will help bring bandwidth costs down by almost 95% of what it is currently and revolutionize the technology industry in Guyana, is expected to begin within three months.
This is according to President Bharrat Jagdeo who made the disclosure yesterday, shortly after touring the Qualfon Call Centre at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara.
The facility, which currently employs over 1,200 persons, is gearing to embark on major expansion plans, on the heel of news that the country will have two fibre optic cables in operation before the end of the year.
Speaking to reporters during a tour of the facility, which once housed Bata Shoe headquarters,
President Jagdeo said the fibre optic cables will potentially allow the industry to generate up to 25,000 jobs.
Qualfon, based in Mexico, opened for business in Guyana at the end of 2005 with 50 employees.
The President, noting that the management of the facility has been asking him to visit for some time now, said that he was impressed by the growth shown, especially in the context of the number of young employees.
However, it was not always smooth sailing, as bandwidth costs and reliability were sore challenges facing Qualfon at its startup. The entity was forced to adapt to using satellite links.
With regards to the Brazilian fibre optic link which government is undertaking to enhance bandwidth capabilities, President Jagdeo said that the signing of the deal is underway, with tenders out for ditch works to lay the cable. Already, a supplier for the cable has been identified.
Recently, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) brought in a fibre optic cable via Suriname which is expected to come into operation by mid-year. According to Jagdeo, the investment of the two cables, by the government and by GT&T, are solid ones that will bring down the costs of bandwidth significantly as well as solving the issue of reliability once and for all. This will make the country more attractive for similar investments, he stressed.
Qualfon yesterday opined that the economy is benefitting from its presence as well since it is using local businesses for supplies, maintenance and transportation, in addition to the hundreds being currently employed.