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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

Telecommunications and ICT Sectors to Benefit From New Fiber Optic Cables

May 29, 2006
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua

The Telecommunications and ICT sectors in Antigua and Barbuda are to benefit from new undersea fiber optic cables, which are expected to be landed and lit by year end.

That's according to Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Honourable Dr. Edmond Mansoor, following a tour of the cable laying ship, the Peter Faber, which was in the St. John's Harbour on Saturday.

The ship, owned by the French Group Alcatel Submarine Network, was completing the ocean survey work for Southern Caribbean Fiber, a company owned by the French Group Loret, which is planning to land and operate an undersea fiber optic cable in Antigua before year end.

Joining Minister Mansoor on the tour of the ship were Telecommunications Officer, Clement Samuel, Director of the Information Technology Center, Dr. Patrick Lay, and Telecommunications Consultant, Delreo Newman.

The Ship's Captain, Soren Andersen, confirmed to the Government officials that more than 95% of the ocean survey work has been completed, with the remaining 5%, which is the near shore component, likely to be completed shortly. Once the entire sea survey is concluded, the fiber optic cable will be manufactured to meet the rugged requirements of sitting on the ocean floor for about twenty five years.

Minister Mansoor says that the current fiber optic cable system is owned by Cable and Wireless and forms part of the Cable and Wireless monopoly infrastructure.

"This monopoly continues to keep telecommunications and ICT costs inordinately high. The landing of additional undersea fiber optic cables will ensure greater connectivity, which in turn would provide tremendous economic opportunity. By licensing more than one submarine fiber optic cable operator, the Government is giving effect to rapidly extending ICTs throughout Antigua and Barbuda," Minister Mansoor said.

"Affordability and accessibility to cell phones and cable TV continue to increase under this administration. With the impending end of the monopoly on external telecommunications by Cable and Wireless, Antigua and Barbuda will see significant reductions in the cost of international telephone calls," Dr. Mansoor said.

The landing of additional cables will also result in enhanced and more cost effective broadband networks.

This is particularly relevant to the internet gaming sector but is also important for developing access to broadband networks for e-government, e-commerce, education, health care delivery and social development.

©Copyright 2005 - Government of Antigua and Barbuda. All rights reserved.

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