REGIONAL telecommunications company Karib Cable will invest B$65 million ($2.8 billion) to expand into Barbados, pledging to build a fibre-optic network on the island and start offering services there by the end of the year.
The telecoms provider will offer a triple play package of broadband Internet, cable television and fixed line telephone services to both corporate and residential customers.
Karib Cable was founded in St Vincent & the Grenadines in 1996 and has since then already expanded operations into Antigua and St Lucia. Both Digicel and LIME are already present in Barbados, but Managing Director of Karib Cable Kelly Glass said his company would be targeting 50 per cent of the Bajan market.
"Karib Cable has the financial, operational and technical capability as well as the regional presence to compete in the local telecommunications markets in a meaningful manner," said Glass at a media launch in the country last week. "We will show this through the provision of improved service offerings to the island, and better value for money to the people of Barbados."
Karib Cable is expected to officially roll out services there in about four months.
The Barbadian government said recently that the company's entrance into the country would be just one of a number of newcomers to its telecoms sector.
"We are considering applications from a couple other major companies," Barbados's telecommmunications minister Darcy Boyce said last week, according to NationNews Barbados. "These new entrants are in keeping with our policy objective of creating an environment that fosters keen but fair competition which in turn is expected to drive the prices of telecom and other related services downward."
The investment arm of the Barbados government also said Karib Cable's plans will bring more business to the country.
"By improving our telecommunications network, Barbados will improve its ability to attract, win and sustain investment for Barbados," said Wayne Kirton of Invest Barbados. "The new network will enhance Barbados' reputation as being one of the world's pre-eminent international business centres."
Invest Barbados also said the Karib Cable plant will be manned by Barbadian nationals who will have "intimate knowledge of the Barbados market, its culture and the people". The company has said that the design, building, and operation of a fibre-optic cable to run services in the country will lead to 200 new jobs.
Karib Cable already serves over 50,000 customers.