Cheaper internet? Trio apply for new telecoms cable licence

By Scott Neil and Alex Wright – Royal Gazette

Bermuda’s duopoly of internet service providers is a step closer to being challenged by an opening up of the market from a consortium of three of the Island’s largest telecommunications companies.

The trio of KeyTech, North Rock Communications and Transact has formed a consortium to bid to supply a new submarine telecoms cable linking the Island to North America and so challenge Bermuda’s current two ISP Class A carriers Cable & Wireless and TeleBermuda International.

Currently the companies within the consortium must buy bandwidth from the two ISPs, but are seeking to have their own cable and bypass some of the costs levied by C&W and TBI.

Internet users could see the cost of their connection fall if the consortium is successful with its submitted application for a new fibre-optic cable licence.

KeyTech, North Rock Communications and Transact made the joint application for the international Class A Telecommunications Licence in response to the Ministry of the Environment, Telecommunications and E-Commerce’s offer for a new license.

This will allow them to build and operate an international telecommunications submarine cable between Bermuda and the US.

Should they get the go ahead, the consortium, which was formed in April and has more than 130 years of combined telecommunications experience, will be able able to supply the Island’s telecommunications providers with increased bandwidth at a fair price.

This, in turn, would result in increased bandwidth offerings and could lower prices for consumers across all telecommunications services.

The consortium said it fully backs the Ministry’s twin objectives to promote a strong infrastructure and healthy competition in the long term for the benefit of Bermuda’s telecommunications customers.

Based upon the criteria in the tender document, the consortium is confident they will be able to undertake the cabling project. Key criteria such as service quality, environmental impact, pricing commitments, and funding are addressed from the perspective of an organisation invested in the future of Bermuda and the group believes having a Bermudian-owned international carrier is in the best interests of the country.

They now await the Telecommunications Commission’s review of their application and recommendation to the Ministry.

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