PHILIPSBURG:— The St. Maarten Telecommunication Operating Company N.V. (TelEm Group), and its telecommunication vendor-partner MER Group, today announced the signing of a multi-million Guilder turnkey project to provide an Island-wide fiber optic telecommunication infrastructure for the Dutch Caribbean Island.
The NAF 28 Million Guilder Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Project is being financed with a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) along with a Bond Issue of the RBC Merchant Bank in Trinidad & Tobago.
Both signing companies expect work to begin on the main network components during the month of August, after a setup and mobilization of resources and equipment on-Island by the Israeli-based company MER. The finer points of the FTTH rollout will be announced in greater detail in the coming weeks.
Contracts were officially signed on Friday, June 30, following several days of tough negotiation and a transparent tender process guided by Ireland-based Consultant Mr. James Dowling, on behalf of TelEm Group.
Mr. Dowling thanked all participants in the bidding process and believes that in MER, TelEm Group has found a very capable company that will deliver on its promise in the most cost effective way using the best engineering practices to bring the very best Smart City product for St. Maarten and the Caribbean when it comes to broadband services.
Friday’s signing ceremony was overseen by MER Group, President, Mr. Marian Cohen, who pledged the full commitment of all MER employees, with the support of its shareholders to ensure success in the project.
“I am sure this is only the beginning, especially when I hear words such as Smart City and Safe City. This is honey to my heart because it is exactly what we do. I wish to thank TelEm Group for the confidence they have put in MER and once again I am sure this is only a beginning,” said the MER Group President, Mr. Cohen, whose signing team Friday also included, VP Business Development & Marketing, Mr. Shay Haas and Director General, Mr. Segev Hostik.
Signatories on behalf of TelEm Group were Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mrs. Helma Etnel.
Mrs. Etnel stated that with the signing of the contract with MER, TelEm Group, and in particular the principals involved in the process: Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Mr. Eldert Louisa, Manager Outside Plant, Marco London; Manager Engineering and Planning, Mr. Jed Carty, and Consultant, Mr. James Dowling, have delivered on a promise to the St. Maarten community to build a Smart City, or at least the foundation for a Smart City.
“This is a dream come true. Many people talk but do not realize. With our own staff, assisted by a consultant, and with the support of our Supervisory Board and Shareholder, we have realized. I am happy to be signing what is a dream that is coming true for the TelEm Group of Companies,” said the CFO, Mrs. Etnel, who has also highlighted the structural approach that TelEm Group and MER will be following to deliver a fiber network of much higher quality that incidental fiber installations that have thus far taken place on St. Maarten.
TelEm Group CEO, Mr. Dupersoy, took the opportunity to thank the MER Group for showing much respect to the island and to the St. Maarten people while taking part in the bidding process, during which time MER conducted its own work on the ground, including speaking with various contractors and government officials.
“The contractors and persons who spoke with me about their interactions with MER thought the company was tough but fair. It is very important to me that you treated them with respect and that you were very honest with them. That makes me very comfortable with MER and I think we are going to be very successful in this venture,” said Mr. Dupersoy.
The TelEm Group CEO believes MER has demonstrated from, its well-prepared groundwork, and its final negotiations, that the company can bring added value to the entire project bringing with it added revenue opportunities for TelEm Group in a telecommunication market where margins are constantly getting smaller and smaller.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa, who spearheaded the project last year with the design and bidding process, but could not be present at the signing ceremony, Mr. Dupersoy noted the CTO’s full satisfaction with the proposal submitted by MER.
“Mr. Louisa is very excited about the Smart City and Safe City concept as we all are and now it’s on with the work,” said the company’s top executive.
Source: St. Martin News Network
TelEm Group partnering with MER Group to deliver Island-wide Fiber-to-the-Home Project for St. Maarten.