TelEm Group CFO Helma Etnel (sitting right) participated in two panel discussions at the CarPIF Conference held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino last week.
MAHO–TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel says the company will deliver on its promise within two years to connect every home in St. Maarten to super-fast fibre-optic cable with the host of economic, social and entertainment possibilities that this brings. Etnel made the comment as a member of the final panel at the end of last week’s Caribbean Peering Interconnection Forum CarPIF Conference, hosted by the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP).
She was responding to a closing comment from Head of the Technical Division at BTP Sidney De Weever who stated: “By pooling telecommunication resources by means of a one infrastructure development, we can extend the Internet to more people. We can make delivery of Internet cheaper for everyone and in the end the customer will benefit.”
Etnel: “Our CEO, Dupersoy, both in another panel discussion and from the floor, made clear what TelEm’s position is when it comes to providing the investment needed to fulfil the promise we made to the St. Maarten community to provide Fibre to the Home and Fibre to the Business to revolutionise telecommunication on St. Maarten.”
She continued: “As we did many years ago, when we invited others to join us when laying fibre from St. Maarten to Puerto Rico for the SMPR-1 submarine cable project at Smitcoms and did not have any takers, so too are we once again taking the lead and financial risk to provide the entire island of St. Maarten with fibre. While others are talking, and focussing on sharing, TelEm Group is delivering on its promise to provide everyone on the island with high speed Internet access within two years.”
She said unlike others who only invest in the neighbourhoods where can get a better return, TelEm Group is committed to providing high speed Internet to everyone in St. Maarten. “In our view, it is far more important to take time now to think of ways how to use high speed Internet (once delivered) in a way that will enhance education, provide business opportunities and alleviate poverty on the island,” Etnel said.
She advised BTP, at this stage at least, to focus on high speed bandwidth to every home at an affordable rate and to give incentives to the companies taking the financial risks to roll out the required infrastructure, instead of burdening them with regulations about sharing their infrastructure.
“The regulator must properly work out a system that does not allow companies that fail to invest in the island from benefitting at the disadvantage of the investing companies from any shared infrastructure and should be aware that too many regulations on sharing may well result in a wait and see approach by investors like TelEm Group that would likely cause a delay in any massive fibre rollout,” Etnel said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67552-telem-welcomes-talking-points-at-carpif-conference