EDITORIAL: LIME’s $100m investment great news
The announcement by telecommunications firm LIME that it intends investing $100 million in an islandwide network upgrade is good news for Barbados and all those living here. It sets the stage to keeping the island on the cutting edge of telecommunications development while it will hopefully work to the benefit of both corporate and residential customers.
The decision by LIME was not totally unexpected, given the entry into the telecoms market by Columbus International Inc., which has gone the route of fibre-optic networking in certain densely populated and primarily middle income residential areas. Columbus clearly has its eyes on a niche within the market and seems to be a formidable player.
Hopefully, within the next 18 to 24 months, this country should be able to boast of having a telecommunications network which can offer first-class service. We hope it will be made available truly islandwide. Customers should have Internet speed equivalent to that available in the developed countries, competitive rates for landline telephone service, fewer faults and a wider range of services – television, security and even options for home shopping.
These developments are as a result of competition in a liberalized free market. Companies must innovate and respond to a changing market in order to survive. LIME had no real choice in the prevailing environment.
Service delivery is an area in which LIME has been given some lashes, and rightfully so. Too many customers have complained publicly about shoddy treatment. The National Initiative for Service Excellence has found LIME lagging in its recent surveys.
Building a world-class fibre-optic grid will help spur innovation and start-up businesses with the net results of creating jobs which are exactly what Barbados needs. The added benefit of a widespread fibre-optic system is that the copper thieves have nothing to prey on, while it also offers endless possibilities to the numerous end-users.
Barbados needs a good, reliable telecommunications service for many reasons. Its international business sector is heavily depended on a system that can deliver 24/7. If medical sciences are to advance, then the telecommunications support must be there for real-time link-ups, and the same demands will be made by the tourism sector.
The country’s reputation of having an efficient and effective telecommunications service must be maintained. Most importantly, this service must be competitive if we are to have some type of advantage.
Understandably, change never stops. So, with the planned upgrade by LIME the question no longer lingers: Barbados is going to reap the rewards of these advances.