APUA to invest in its own sub-sea cable

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APUA Minister Robin yEARWOOD

The state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority is expected to invest EC$ 80 million in its own sub-sea cable, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has announced.

Browne said high-speed broadband is essential to provide wide enough bandwidth to facilitate all the modern industries that now operate globally on the Internet.

“That is why in 2019, APUA will invest $80 million, to acquire its own sub-sea cable and to democratize access to the internet through the provision of more affordable, reliable and faster internet service to residents,” he said.

Browne said the country can no longer rely on investment by foreign-owned telecommunication companies alone, to take our country to the highest level of high-speed internet technology.

He reiterated his position that the two international providers, Digicel and Flow have not provided the country with the technology required at prices that are fair and affordable. 

He insisted that” our country, our people, our economy cannot wait.” 

The prime minister also told listerners to his New Year’s Message that the investment should not be seen as the government pushing out the competition.

“Instead, we are allowing APUA to set the pace in the race to better technology, lower rates and faster Internet.
It is a race in which the other existing providers are invited to join,” he told the nation.

The government has already passed legislation to ensure number portability and measures to ensure the equitable redistribution of the 850 spectrum among the telecom companies.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with this approach. Internet access is a national security issue for Antigua and it must not rely on foreign providers. Even if the foreign providers were good (which they are not), it is still important for our government to have its own line for national security reasons.

    PM should seriously consider a ‘free internet for Antigua CITIZENS’, not CARICOM people, but for Antigua CITIZENS only regardless of income level.

  2. Leadership really matters. It is about high time we stop depending on others to make the necessary investment for us, and when they do they make the most ridiculous demands from us, wanting to earn back their investment in the shortest possible time and holding us at ransom. This is where I like to see our CIP money being put to good use. Great vision Mr. PM.

  3. Not sure why this took so long to have been given consideration. $80M is miniscule compared to the benefits to be derived from it. Stuff like this is exactly what Melford needs to be focusing on.

    • That is why leadership matters. And a leader as Gaston will not let these companies hold us hostage any longer. In fact the Caribbean should be doing this collectively. We should have cables connecting each Island and that would bring the unification of CARICOM even closer. I still cannot understand why I can see all the American TV Channels but I cannot see anything from the neighboring Islands. And a call to one of our sister Islands is more expensive than a call to the USA or Canada. There should be no roaming between the Islands. The USA is a bigger landmass and if you have a US number you are covered almost everywhere in the USA

  4. Lol just the other day i was listening the CARIB ARENA TAPES how can anybody take these guys serious especially the tapes with pussy salad,gaston ,bird and asot who would really take them serious we all know what mission they on. Imagine the only way you can get your electricity bill lowered is to go through apua to get solar panel system and u still have to be on the grid for them to benefit from what u have and the people who really need the relief cant afford lol …..what have they done for the poor people of this country? No one can name one good thing they have done …..look at st kitts they are putting policys in place so that the poor can benefit

  5. Is this going to be another Chinese giveaway that doesn’t really belong to A&B? How much kickback will there be on the “contract”? Who will maintain it and control it? What a scary prospect. Let the private sector deal with these things and keep internet access free of government interference. It would just be another way to hold people hostage.

    • Dear Sweetiepie,
      I believe you have the best interest of the country at heart, but obviously, you are very young. You need to have a “sit-down” with your parents and grandparents, and let them explain what Cable & Wireless did to us in the Caribbean. They made much more profit in the Caribbean than in the UK, with a population 10 times ours. To add insult to injury, the service in the Caribbean was inferior to that in the UK. Additionally, we had managers from England, making ten times the salary of equally qualified Caribbean citizens, while the massive profits were repatriated to upgrade the infrastructure in Britain. We simply cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

      • I am flattered that you think I am young but I am 72 and lived with C&W ,etc. Unfortunately the government has a miserable track record far worse than anything ever inflicted on A&B by C&W. If the government had a reputation for competence when it comes to contract development , negotiation and award and management/oversight I might feel differently but they have proven themselves to be incompetent over and over again.

      • Jerome, I am not defending Cable and Wireless but you omitted to mention that a hefty sum was being paid for ensuring exclusive (no competition) service from C & W which was added to the consumers’ overseas bills. Same applied to British Airways. This corruption control continued for a long time and was hard to break even after independence. With that in mind one has to wonder if the cost for the subsea cables is the real cost or are there possibly extras in that figure for the utility top and his present shadow.

  6. I would be inclined to agree with this but as Sweetiepie suggested, the DEVIL is in the details. Time will tell if it is indeed a project that will benefit us as Antiguans and Barbudans, another ‘gift’ to China etc or another ‘creative enrichment’ scheme.

  7. Mr. PM it’s time to look for venture capital for APUA Telecom. Just separate the company from the others. It will be a large profit center eventually Government can take the dividend to subsidize the other operations, like the water division. PDV Caribe needs good investment vehicles and so does State Insurance and WIOC.

  8. Where would the fiber connect to, another “foreign” provider? All the subsea cables in the region are owned by external to the region entities. Looking forward to the details but for 80M EC$ you can land a cable to Puerto Rico (ATT, Deepblue Cable, America Movil), Guadeloupe (Orange, Alcatel Marine), or BVI (FLOW/CW, Alcatel Marine, ), once landed you still have to negotiate with the same foreign carriers that we are trying to bypass already landing on Antigua.

  9. Congratulations to your PM. I write as familiar with Caribbean colonial history and the necessity for continuing acts of deliverance from that past to be taken by all CARICOM. As a ‘CARICOM’ citizen (if such a thing is possible) and not Antiguan, I have always observed and commented on the depth of thought among your leadership, from the late Rt Hon. Vere Bird Sr. to the Rt. Hon. Gaston Brown which demonstrates a value system and legacy – It can be said that Antigua is being helped to develop a culture as is reflected in some of this discussion. A previous leader referred to ridding the region of its ‘last vestiges of colonialism’ but unfortunately so many of our CARICOM leaders seem not to have such a value system. We will not get very far unless we understand what is holding us back as an economic region and it’s our colonial mindset that perpetuates this continued colonial rape of our economies – the cost we continue to pay today for things we can do for ourselves – think international communications, energy and of all things FOOD security.

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