By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company's (BTC) operational head yesterday said more than half the homes in Nassau and Grand Bahama will be passed by its latest network technology come year-end 2021 as it launches a national Internet connectivity drive.
Andre Foster told Tribune Business that the carrier also plans to "turn up" its off-island broadband connectivity next year through the addition of 20 gigabytes of connectivity between the first and third quarters, as its network "brings on stream" new neighbourhoods in the Carmichael Road area and western New Providence.
And, with 50 percent of homes in Grand Bahama, and 45-47 percent in New Providence, already bypassed by its fibre-to-the-home technology, Mr Foster said BTC was targeting an increase to "55 percent combined between the two islands" by year-end 2021.
Disclosing that BTC was looking to integrate its fibre and mobile networks more closely, he added that this will provide the platform for new product launches by year-end or the 2021 first quarter.
Mr Foster's spoke out as BTC unveiled a national connectivity campaign aiming to provide all islands and communities with broadband Internet services tailored to their needs.
Garfield 'Garry' Sinclair, BTC's chief executive, said: “Over the last seven months, we’ve seen a huge shift in traffic and an increased demand for broadband services. We were prepared for this, having installed a 10 gigabyte link to provide additional bandwidth for customers.
"Access to broadband Internet is absolutely necessary, especially with a great number of students attending classes virtually and some people continuing to work from home. We’ve embarked on what we believe is a necessary mission to ensure that we are providing the speeds and connectivity that our customers need regardless of their location.
"During this pandemic, we’ve had to adapt our operations to meet the evolving needs of our customers and our communities. Today, this means we must ensure that every customer across The Bahamas has access to the broadband solutions they require.”
Mr Foster added: “Even if you already have internet services with us, and you think you need more speed, we can help. We have the ability to connect every customer by utilising one or a combination of our network technologies, whether its upgraded fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or our 4G-LTE network. We are very confident in the capacity and resilience of our network.
"We have had consistent growth in our fibre-to-the-home footprint in Grand Bahama and eastern New Providence, and we have started extending that footprint to the western communities. Just recently we ‘fiberised’ the Sea Beach community, and over 400 customers have access to BTC’s fibre-to-the-home network which delivers up to 600 megabytes per second."