Landline Internet users will “in the very near future” experience ten times faster bandwidth speed but mobile users would have to wait a bit longer because government is yet to grant approval for frequencies to allow 3G and 4G services.
The announcement of higher speeds at lower costs was made by the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), Radha Krishna Sharma Saturday night.
“Shortly, we will be embarking on a phased manner to bring faster Internet service and that, too, at a lower price to all,” he told the annual Media Awards Dinner held at Grand Coastal Hotel, Le Resouvennir, East Coast Demerara.
He pledged that “every qualifying community will be equally served” before year-end with faster data speeds compared to those being offered by any other provider.
While Sharma boasted that “data customers would not be able to experience this service from any other provider in this country,” he said that mobile phone users would be unable to take advantage of 3G or 4G.These are available in most countries around the world including tiny Caribbean islands.
He lamented that this is because government and the company have for the past five years failed to reach agreement on providing the required frequencies to offer higher data speeds on mobile phones. “I would have been happy to announce this evening that we have a resolution in sight. Unfortunately, this is not so. However, we intend to intensify our efforts with the relevant authority to move beyond this impasse,” he said.
The GT&T boss contended that the absence of higher mobile data speeds was a disservice and that Guyanese were being denied the benefits of 3G and 4G services.
He recalled that on World Telecommunications and Information Society Day 2014, his company had pointed to the social and economic transformation that the use of the Internet and other communication technologies could bring to countries such as Guyana. That, he said, was evident in the emergence of many IT-driven businesses. “We have seen economic activities catapult with the introduction of Broadband services such as the emergence of a number of Call Centres and other IT-dependent businesses continue to create significant employment for tech-savvy and innovative youth,” he said.
GT&T’s announcement that it would be increasing data speeds to land-line users came four years after it landed a US$60 million submarine fibre optic cable at Kingston, Georgetown. The 1,240 kilometer cable that also goes to Suriname.
There are a number of wireless Internet providers and more recently, GT&T’s mobile competitor, Digicel has announced plans to land a fibre optic cable. Like GT&T, Digicel has been expressing grave concern about the failure by Guyanese authorities to provide the spectrum that is required for higher mobile data speeds.