Telecoms giant Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which trades here as LIME, has embarked on a US$100 million investment in Barbados as it awaits regulatory approval for its proposed merger with Columbus Communications.
CWC chief executive officer Phil Bentley said the company made a concerted effort to turn around business last year and it was committed to executing “the right activities in the market” going forward.
Responding to questions from Barbados TODAY, he said a “new company” would be created once the proposed merger was approved, that would better enable “the necessary step-change that will generate greater pace in our execution”.
“We will grow and begin to transform our organization to become a world-class telecoms operator for the Caribbean; one that will create more jobs, deliver significant investment and stimulate the economy of the region and key countries like Barbados,” said Bentley.
“I’m very confident and that’s why our focus and investments are in these markets. Telecommunications is a catalyst for economic growth and various surveys have shown the direct correlation between the boon of the economy and technology. That’s why we are committed to our investment plans.”
Bentley said one of the big projects this year was the investment of US$100 million on upgrading and expanding the telecoms infrastructure on the island.
“We’re running fibre optic cables into every home in Barbados – that’s a first in the region – and we plan to launch even faster mobile download speeds. That’s a very substantial investment. To put it into context, we are planning to spend more than US$350 on our network for every man, woman and child in Barbados. It is the largest single telecoms investment programme in Barbados to date, and it will transform the country’s technology across broadband, mobile services and TV,” he explained.
Alongside the investments in technology, Bentley said customer service was high on the agenda and, as such, the company would be introducing various avenues to listen and respond to customers’ needs.
“Additionally, we will give our customers more choices and that’s why we are also agreed to net neutrality,” he said.
“Barbadians can also look forward to a continuous launch of new products and services including quad-play offers, superior and comprehensive TV content, enhanced broadband speeds, better retail experience and overall, a more robust network,” added Bentley.
Describing 2014 as very dynamic for the industry, Bentley said the company saw tremendous growth in the demand for mobile data.
And with mobile phone subscribers expected to reach more than seven billion this year, Bentley said there were even brighter prospects for the company.
He predicted that the industry would remain “highly competitive due to the shift towards convergence and innovation”.
“Our vision is to help Barbados to create history by being the first Caribbean country to have 100 per cent broadband penetration. The availability of technology will create a plethora of endless possibilities for Barbadians, unleashing their creativity and connecting them to the world,” he said.
“We anticipate greater improvements in the array of products, services and innovations – all dictated by the discerning needs of the increasingly sophisticated consumer,” Bentley added.