By Carlena Knight
Residents fed up with slow internet may soon get to breathe a sigh of relief as APUA is set to embark on major upgrades to address inadequate service across the country.
Two projects — the subsea cables and the fibre to the home initiative — will see much headway in the coming months following an approval for funding by government, Information and Technology Minister Melford Nicholas revealed Thursday during the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing.
“APUA has secured the funding to complete their fibre to the home project, and in addition to that they have brought forward a business plan and achieved the funding to be able to land their own subsea fibre,” he said.
“That will give APUA the opportunity to provide truly a fixed line digital product to all of Antigua and Barbuda and it is my expectation at that particular point in time, the last hurdle as it were would be for us to have the liberalisation of the telecommunications market and that we can have true competition in the market that will benefit the consumers,” Nicholas continued.
He said plans have already been made by APUA to begin implementing the fibres in residents’ homes in the north of Antigua.
“My information is that they are forecasting to commence the fibre to the home project on the northern end of the island and that will include the areas north of the Old Parham Road all the way over to Cedar Grove in the first instance and then they will fan out from there.
“So, over the next weeks and coming months, we would expect there to be a significant impact as it will certainly help to improve the internet connections,” Nicholas revealed.
This news is timely with students forced to adapt to online learning due to the closure of schools amid a recent surge in Covid infections.
Many members of the public recently shared their frustration with poor internet service in response to an Observer social media post.
“As a teacher, trying to host virtual classes, is the most difficult challenge with these internet issues,” said one person.
“We deserve better! Students, teachers and parents are fed right up! We pay them in full so we expect full service!! Blooming internet slow slow in the day and then act like it’s on curfew … shut dung ah night time!” another said.
“I’m at work and my son calls all the time complaining, sometimes he’s even crying. They need to do better!! Sick, tired and fed up!! I have 2 providers – 1 for home and 1 for cellphones…guess what…both are trash,” the Facebook user added.
Nicholas admitted that there is a pressing need for this issue to be addressed and said he is confident that these projects by APUA will be the solution.