Island has a long way to go in Internet speed and value

By Jonathan Kent -Royal Gazette

Bermuda has a long way to go to catch up with the Internet speed and value offered in other developed countries, according to the Computer Society of Bermuda (CSB).

speedBut with the three high-capacity telecommunications cables now serving the Island, the Island can meet the international challenge, CSB said.

In a progress report on the standard of Internet services on the Island, CSB compared the 101 Mbps (megabits per second), $99 a month service being offered to American residents by CableVision-USA with the 1 Mbps service being offered by Bermuda companies for the same price.

“As a service, the Computer Society has been monitoring the changes in internet delivery locally and internationally for the past four years and reporting back to the community,” CSB director Raymond Seymour said.

“CableVision-USA’s 101 Mbps activation of service leaves no doubts that Bermuda is reasonably challenged to stay technologically and cost competitive.

“Last month, we celebrated Logic and North Rock’s accomplishment in advancing their 256kbps residential customers up to 1 Mbps; however, the 101 Mbps international milestone shows a stark contrast of how far we have to go to remain relevant.”

The CSB report added that two weeks ago Virgin Media UK started trials for 200 Mbps service in the Ashford, Kent area in England.

Virgin said the test would be done with 100 customers and trial IPTV, 3D television, telepresence IT and other cutting edge services.

CSB said the development made the UK the technical leader in the world of Internet delivery to homes, with Asia (160 Mbps) and US (101 Mbps) following behind.

On the other hand, in the Caribbean, Flow, a Jamaican telecommunications company, is delivering 15 Mbps service and Bahamas is delivering nine Mbps right now. Bermuda’s maximum speed today is 4.5 Mbps to homes.

“Optimistically stated, Bermuda can meet the international challenge,” Mr. Seymour said. “We have three active, high-capacity cables arriving on our shores delivering the same capacities available to the North American seaboard”.

CSB added that local obstacles have to be overcome.

“Local on-island facilities need to be upgraded to fibre-to-the-home to exceed the 24 Mbps technical maximum we have now,” the report stated.

“This may require investment above $9,000 per home and have to cover over 75 percent of homes to be worthwhile.

“The new regulatory reform needs to be announced then put in place so companies know where they stand in the newly envisioned telecommunications landscape. The Ministry of Telecommunications stated that everyone – providers and customers – would have to wait until 2010 for this to occur.

“Businesses and residents have to take note of what the increased speed to the east and west means for Bermuda.

“With average inbound speed (downloads) 10 to 50 times faster than Bermuda, we will naturally be classed well below acceptable standards for a developed country. We have to ensure we don’t slip any further.”

For more information on how Bermuda’s internet service compares with the world, visit the CSB’s website at and click on “Library”.

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