Digicel has teamed up with networking giant Cisco and Sierra to build an underground fiber network in the Jamaican cities of Montego Bay, St James and Kingston.
Slated for completion by this summer, the network will enable Digicel to offer high-speed internet service to corporate customers in industrial zones of Jamaica, such as the Montego Bay Free Zone, New Kingston and Kingston Port. Jamaica’s second city, Montego Bay is home to several foreign outsourcing firms.
“The next-generation fiber network would provide customers with an extremely reliable set of converged services that provide a rich suite of voice, video, and business-critical data applications with high performance and quality of service,” said Jason Corrigan, general manager for Digicel Business, as reported by the Jamaica Gleaner.
Digicel, which recently purchased a large chunk of submarine cable assets from Global Caribbean Fibre, is reportedly investing US$5.4 million in the project. Analysts say the fiber network will not only bring access to high-speed internet but also push down broadband prices across the Caribbean country.
Expensive broadband prices has long prevented Jamaica from propping up its outsourcing sector. Estimates show that just 8% of Jamaicans are presently using a high-speed Internet service. Studies suggest that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can boost the country’s GDP by 1.3%.
Boosting ICT infrastructure is a primary aim of the present government. The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has also lent US$62 million to the ICT sector as part of the government’s plan to create 6,000 jobs over the next few years.