By Shermain Bique-Charles
The spectrum-sharing agreement reached between Digicel and the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has provided the local telecommunications provider with more options.
During his budget address last year, and again in his New Year’s address at the start of this year, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that a new high-speed telecommunication network would be built and completed during the budgetary cycle.
That project, to be undertaken by APUA, and for which $20 million was then budgeted, was to include an undersea fiber optic cable.
The total investment was valued at $80 million, but Telecommunications Minister Melford Nicholas told OBSERVER media that it is likely that APUA will be taking a different route.
“APUA had brought their development plans to Cabinet and indicated where certain capital resources would have been required to equip them to be able to obtain both some subsea fiber at a better rate and also to complete their fiber to the home network,” he said.
Nicholas said the recent developments regarding the spectrum sharing are likely to place APUA in a stronger negotiating position for the fiber optic cable acquisition.
“I believe within the context of what has taken place, APUA may well be in the position to negotiate some better rates, to be an effective competitor in the market for broadband services,” Nicholas told OBSERVER media.
But again, he said, it is still an option and what APUA decides to do with support from the Cabinet is a matter to be determined down the road.