FLOW announces the end of copper wire while optical fiber is fully operational
Barbados became the first island in the Caribbean to be fully cabled by fiber optic, said FLOW, the regional subsidiary of telecommunications giant Cable & Wireless, as it completed the rollout of its fiber-to-the-home network ( FTTH).
Replacing traditional copper wire with a fiber optic connection effectively enables cheaper transmission of virtually unlimited bandwidth of voice, data and video at the speed of light.
But the innovation won’t mean lower prices for customers, executives told reporters on Thursday in an online briefing.
Instead, they touted the potential of fiber to make the island more attractive for investment, faster connectivity, greater reliability and shorter downtime in the event of an outage.
Desron Bynoe, recently appointed Country Manager for Barbados, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that as of September 1, 2021, FLOW is now providing services to all customers in Barbados exclusively through its fiber network. state-of-the-art optics. “
The telecommunications company recently decommissioned the last components of its century-old copper-based network, marking the end of an approximately 15-year project to provide island-wide fiber optic to to domestic connections for broadband, landline and television services, he said.
A fiber optic ring around the greater Bridgetown area has been in operation since the early 1990s.
Describing the FTTH deployment as the most complex project the company has ever undertaken, Bynoe said it demonstrates the company’s long-term commitment to the development of Barbados.
“The way we plan to move forward is to really generate value, so not necessarily to cut prices but to offer more flexibility in terms of what we can do,” he said. he stated, pointing out several new plans that the business was on now. offer.
FLOW executives would not say how much the project cost. While the initial deployment of the fiber optic network began in 2007, it was in mid-2016 that the company announced that on that date, an investment of approximately $ 300 million (US $ 160 million) had been realized in building its infrastructure, which included the FTTH network.
A year later, the company said its investment would include about an additional $ 150 million (US $ 75 million).
Bynoe said the company has enabled the company to now provide customers with “the best service, the best experience and the best value possible.”
He added: “This is a remarkable opportunity in terms of attracting investment because the network is there to support it. I know Barbados also has the working capital to support any investment. This therefore offers a huge opportunity where Barbados can now distinguish itself from the rest of the region and seek to attract much-needed investment in the island space through this network. “
Further describing the benefits of FTTH, FLOW’s director of construction, O’Neil Greene, said the network is now more reliable than copper.
“Compared to copper, fiber bandwidth includes increased speed, reliability, additional capacity in terms of bandwidth and security. Broken or damaged fiber can also be detected and repaired faster than copper, and the fiber is less sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature and electromagnetic fluctuations, ”he said.
But the downside to the FTTH network was that landline services would go down during a power outage, he said.
Executives said this could be easily fixed if customers purchased their own uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system for back-up power.
Greene also revealed that FLOW is exploring the possibility of putting more of its infrastructure underground.
Marilyn Sealy, senior communications director for the Southern Caribbean, said the multi-million dollar investment was a testament to the level of trust the company had in the island, noting that FLOW had worked closely with the government. over the past few years “to make sure that we are strengthening our network with regards to the welcome buffer”.
Sealy revealed that telecommunications have increased network speeds and are already seeing positive results, with more people indicating an interest in moving to Barbados because they favor connectivity.
“We are continuing to work with the Government of Barbados on this and we are working on another project right now that will definitely benefit Barbadians,” said Sealy, who was also a mom of the details of this upcoming project.
“This will benefit our country as a whole and in particular our tourism product. We have tried to make sure that our hotels and people within the industry stay connected and that what they offer in hotels in terms of TV product is at the highest level, ”she said.
The company is preparing to ship its copper infrastructure, which represents thousands of meters of cable, to the United States for recycling.