This was the assurance given by Minister of Telecommunications Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams after recently meeting with the country’s two telecommunications providers Flow and Digicel during which he was updated on their achievements and future plans, including work being done to upgrade networks following hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.
Hon. Williams stated: “I was quite pleased with the wealth of detailed information provided by Digicel and Flow and I was also impressed by the significant investment they continue to make in upgrading their networks and in other important areas. A robust and reliable telecommunications infrastructure is an integral component in the functioning and development of any modern society. It is within that context that my ministry and my government intends to work closely with the service providers to make certain that the Turks and Caicos Islands is adequately equipped with the latest and best technology.”
He continued: “We are one of the most stable and fastest growing economies in the Caribbean and we pride ourselves in being a high-end tourist destination. In addition, we have a very diverse and vibrant population that relies heavily on telecommunications as a function of their daily lives, so we have to remain on the cutting edge of technology.”
The Minister said he was particularly satisfied that both companies reaffirmed their commitment to providing free Wi-Fi in certain areas, including at the airports in Providenciales and Grand Turk.
“In our Change Document we made a promise to create pubic zones for free Wi-Fi and my ministry and my government will ensure that this goal is achieved. The Turks and Caicos Islands is too small for there to be a digital divide in this country. While of course the providers have to make a return on their investments, I think they must also strike a balance and give consideration to the critical role that they must play in the area of social advancement, and by that I simply mean that there should be no area or person in this country that cannot enjoy the benefits and privileges of having access to telecommunications technology.”
Flow has been providing free Wi-Fi at their local stores throughout the island and at all the public schools throughout the country in all administration buildings and computer labs.
In terms of specific updates provided to the Minister, Digicel said it is re-building better, with Fiber to the homes (FTTH) and Fiber to the business (FTTB) in Providenciales and Grand Turk. Providenciales is three months to completion of underground fiber project and service to homes in Blue Hills will begin within three weeks. Digicel also told the Minister that Grand Turk rebuild work has commenced.
Flow indicated that it has accelerated the restoration work and upgrades, and they are making great progress, as the restoration work nears completion.
Delleriece Hall, Country Manager, Flow TCI informed that they have significantly upgraded their distribution network in Providenciales, making it possible for most customers to access Superfast Broadband and Flow TV. The community of Five Cays had full access by April 15th.
The Country Manager also noted that optimization work, or the final fine-tuning process is ongoing and customers will experience an increase in speeds on both mobile and fixed services.
She also reported that customers in Grand Turk will soon experience the superfast and reliable speeds as we roll out Fiber to the Home (FTTH), the latest generation ultra-high speed broadband connection.
In addition, Flow has launched a study program for all CXC students which allows students to access a learning/study database at no charge or Wi-Fi cost to them.
Digicel has provided community Wi-Fi at the Princess Alexandra Park in Providenciales, the Digicel Store and Police A Division in Grand Turk and the Digicel store in South Caicos. More locations will be added.
Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams MHA
Minister Home Affairs Transportation and Communication