US$20M+ upgrade of Internet services underway – GTT

first_imgAfter topping the list of complaints before the Public Utility Commission (PUC) last year, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) is shelling out millions in a bid to improve Internet services in outlying areas.While addressing media operatives at a press conference on Tuesday, GTT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Nedd said the company has so far expended US$20 million on its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) project. According to Nedd, that US$20 million capital expenditure price tag is steadily rising.“This is really an investment in the future of the country… what I see is customers want faster Internet,” Nedd said. “They want reliable Internet. They don’t care ifGTT is pursuing their fibre-optic rollout programmeyou deliver that Internet in a paper bag or a fibre-optic cable. So (its) based on the geography of the particular area. (But) as we continue to deploy, we look for the best technology to give people the fastest possible speed.”“For a very linear, long stretch, 200 houses deep area, you might use a different technology to a densely populated area like central Georgetown. But specifically for the fibre to the home project, this is a very significant project. This is modern and future proof stuff. It’s not something available in every part of the US,” he further explained.He noted that there are several considerations when installing this technology, including population density. But hand in hand with the company’s continued expansion, Nedd revealed that Internet traffic has been on the rise and has grown by more than 13 per cent.Most visitors, the CEO said, go to Google, Netflix and Facebook. He explained that there are 6000 first time Internet customers and a waiting list of 4000 applicants. While this is a lot, Nedd noted that the company would be able to meet the needs of the country.According to the PUC in its 2017 annual report, a total of 296 complaints were received against GTT for last year. This figure is almost double the complaints received about Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) service. Coming in a distant third was the Guyana Water Inc (GWI), as 38 complaints were recorded. U mobile cellular incorporated (Digicel) customers registered a mere three complaints for the year.“The complaints received from GT&T followed the same trend as previous years with the majority of complaints received pertaining to technical issues. GTT has advised that the company is in the process of providing new technological installations to some of the areas which were previously served by the obsolete Fixed Wireless System (FWA),” the report noted.“Data service via Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is being offered to the Essequibo Coast. Areas such as La Grange on the West Bank of Demerara that was once served by the obsolete FWA system benefited from Fibre to the Home (FTTH),” the report adds.The PUC expressed expectations that other areas would benefit during the year 2018 as GTT continued its FTTH rollout. It also noted that the company has been installing its new Blaze system using fibre as opposed to copper technologies.According to the report “the upgrade for existing DSL customers requires a new application for service, for which new Internet equipment, backup power supply and a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone will be provided. The telephone through the fibre-optic network thus becomes an Internet phone where the local telephone number will remain the same and the service will not be susceptible to some of the challenges inherent with copper.”last_img read more