US$30M Fibre optic cable to become operational in eight weeks – GT&T
By Leonard Gildarie
The long-awaited multi-billion-dollar fibre optic cable brought here by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has been installed and will be operational in eight weeks, making internet connection in Guyana, among the fastest in the region, excited officials announced yesterday.
Not only will current internet speed be increased fourfold, in the initial stages for clients, but the company says that a whole slew of additional features, including high speed internet, home monitoring, mobile monitoring and gaming, will now be possible, forever changing the face of the country.
The officials also dismissed questions that another fibre optic cable being brought by Government through Brazil and expected later this year would “compete” with the company’s expansion plans.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Major General (rtd) Joe Singh, in meetings with President Bharrat Jagdeo and other government officials, it was made clear that the Brazil cable will be mainly to develop an E-Government.
According to Chief Financial Officer, Yog Mahadeo, in the beginning, current DSL clients will see their speed increased fourfold automatically. GT&T is working to introduce a number of packages designed to fit the pockets of everyone.
Banks, companies with branches and other similar organizations will all benefit from the low cost of bandwidth, it was stressed.
The company’s capacity, will the commissioning of the fibre optic cable, will be dramatically increased 4,000 times of its current state, it was said yesterday.
Mahadeo, named to head the company as the Chief Executive Officer when Singh departs in July, said that GT&T continues to be one of the country’s highest investors with over US$350M invested to date in Guyana.
Present at the press conference at the Brickdam office yesterday along with Mahadeo and Singh, were Deputy General Manager, Terry Holder, and Gene Evelyn, Director of Rates Making.
While, GT&T has so far plugged US$30M to bring the cable, additional features to fully optimize the potential of the cable will see another US$20M-US$30M being added, Singh disclosed.
According to Singh, the cable has been landed to the GT&T’s compound opposite the National Park, Thomas Lands with all subsea and other works completed. GT&T is now conducting tests
An upbeat Mahadeo noted that GT&T “has done it again” with the cable and its potential.
Already, the CFO said, the Private Sector Commission, the Georgetown Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Berbice Chamber of Industry of Commerce have been apprised of the developments.
The deal to bring the cable to Guyana from Trinidad, through Suriname, was signed in December 2008.
According to Mahadeo, GT&T will now be moving into a partnership mode with several businesses in which the company will ensure internet connections and then work with businesses to provide computers and other equipment.
Mahadeo stressed that the company is not just satisfied with bringing the cable, but is fully aware that its potential has to be fully exploited.
In the transformation period, GT&T will be focusing its entire staff on ensuring that the next generation services are available to Guyanese.
The officials assured that no staff would be let go during the period. Rather, the staff will be retrained and the focus will be to transform the entire operations of GT&T to meet growing demands in services.
The CEO lauded the Ministry of Agriculture, Transport and Harbours and other Government agencies, which worked to ensure that laying of the cable met deadlines.
Already, to protect the integrity of the cable in the ocean, the government has declared a no-fish zone.
Major General (Ret’d) Singh disclosed that while several persons and agencies were involved in the cable laying, it is a project of which he is immensely proud, because of the potential to change the country’s landscape in the technology field.
He was confident that GT&T will have the right leadership under Mahadeo, whom he said has been been groomed for the CEO post.
With the commissioning of the cable, the official said, the country’s capacity to open more call centres will become a distinct possibility with the company already servicing several of them across the country.
It was disclosed that from July 1, GT&T will be initiating its “Go Live”, where in phases, clients will see dramatic increase in their bandwidth. More than likely, Georgetown will be the first to see benefits, a guarded Mahadeo revealed.
The government, especially President Bharrat Jagdeo, has for some time now, been pushing for increased bandwidth, which he says could provide more than 10,000 new jobs from the establishment of call centres and other businesses.