Massive internet boost to reach Linden by year end
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E-Networks team during a recent visit to Linden - CEO, Vishok Persaud (second from right) with Gerald Singh, Abu Zaman, and Project Lead, Yannick Charles
E-Networks team during a recent visit to Linden - CEO, Vishok Persaud (second from right) with Gerald Singh, Abu Zaman, and Project Lead, Yannick Charles

-as E-Networks pursues fibre optic cable from Georgetown to Reg. 10

BY the end of the year, thousands residing in Linden and along the Soesdyke Highway will benefit from improved internet services, owing to investments being made by E-Networks Incorporated, Guyana’s only locally-owned telecommunications provider.

In a statement on Sunday, the company announced that it was currently building a fibre optic cable from Georgetown to Linden, Region 10, Upper Demerara-Berbice. This move is said to be the latest in a series of milestones the company has achieved in massively expanding its network “to bring better services to more people.”

With the expansion already in progress, the E-Networks team comprising the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vishok Persaud; Chief Technical Officer, Gerald Singh; Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Zaman; and Project Lead, Yannick Charles visited Linden on Saturday.

During the visit, the team inspected the progress of the expansion, including poles already planted and the ongoing fibre network build-out. According to the CEO, the company has been keenly focused on bringing high-capacity connectivity to Guyana’s towns to further support the development of a diverse economy.

The company said that its sales affiliate, Charles, who is also a Lindener, has been working with the E-Networks team to mobilise the project. In expressing his enthusiasm for this significant development for his hometown, Charles noted that the project is a major investment for Linden, which currently lacks reliable connectivity.

With the introduction of E-Networks’ faster, more affordable internet services, he anticipates that Linden was poised for further socioeconomic transformation and modernisation.

Newly installed lights on E-Networks poles on Linden Highway as part of its fibre network expansion to Linden

“E-Networks is committed to building Guyana’s primary fiber backbone and expanding its network to Berbice and Essequibo towns. With plans already underway, the company aims to complete the deployment of connectivity to Linden before the end of the year,” the press statement said.

It added that as part of the Linden expansion, “E-Networks has also provided lighting on its newly planted poles along the one-kilometre leading into Linden on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.”

This, the company said, is part of its plans to continually give back to the communities where it provides services.
“With this new cable to Linden, the company will soon be able to offer the same fast, reliable, and affordable services as it does in Georgetown and other areas,” the statement indicated.

These services include 4G and 5G fixed wireless connectivity aimed at the residential user and fiber optic services focused on more efficient business operations. The internet services start at $7,900 for 20 Mbps of speed, with options up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps).

Since launching its fibre optic network in 2013, E-Networks said it has supported the majority of the country’s commercial and financial sectors by delivering fast and reliable internet connectivity to address the critical pain points in the sector over the last few decades.

“Within months of receiving its telecommunications licence in October 2020, E-Networks has brought relief to the sector previously plagued by slow, expensive, and unreliable internet through its network expansion to outlying areas, including the Essequibo Coast as recently as August,” the company said, as it reiterated its commitment towards ensuring that the sector continues to advance according to regional and international standards.

As part of its Essequibo operations, the company invested some $1.2 billion to land its first-ever submarine fiber optic cable to serve the Essequibo Islands and Essequibo Coast. E-Networks had said then that the company’s motivation to make the notable investment in such a swift manner can be directly attributed to a challenge extended by President Irfaan Ali earlier in the year.

Recognising the need for improved connectivity throughout Guyana, the Head of State had underscored the importance of more investments within the telecommunications sector and further committed to working with various stakeholders to deliver better quality internet services to citizens, especially within the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the technology reliance it has created.

Another motivating factor, according to E-Networks, was the long-awaited liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in October last. The Telecommunications Act of 2016 was first laid by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government in the ninth Parliament in August 2011; it was laid again in the 10th Parliament in 2012, after extensive consultations with both the public and operators.

During the life of both Parliaments, the Act enjoyed commendable bipartisan support. It spent considerable time before a select committee, chaired by former Opposition Member of Parliament, Carl Greenidge, and included Former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, and President Ali who was, at that time, a minister of the government.
Although finalised before the 2015 elections, the Act was enacted by the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Government in 2016, again with bipartisan support.

In finally bringing the Act into force in October 2020, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips lamented the fact that even though the benefits of the Act were well known to the coalition government, they, for some “inexplicable reason” only brought a few sections of it into force, thereby “frustrating the intent and objective of the Act by denying Guyanese the benefits flowing therefrom.”

As the telecommunications sector was being fully liberalised, Phillips projected that the move will be felt countrywide “at a time when enhanced, universal and competitive access to telecommunications is pivotal to Guyana’s developmental trajectory. In face of the COVID-19 crisis, it assumes even greater significance.”

Since the liberalisation took effect, E-Networks said that it has successfully stimulated considerable competition, forcing the complacent incumbent providers to upgrade their services reactively.

This can be reflected in the fact that only recently, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), rebranded its entire internet operations to also offer improved internet services.

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