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Flow making its mark

Shawn Cumberbatch

Flow making its mark

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New entrant Columbus is reporting big progress six months into the introduction of its Flow brand in Barbados.
Management of the telecommunications company said its team has been so busy building required infrastructure on the island during that time that by next month, “at least” half of the households in Barbados would have access to its services.
Columbus Barbados managing director Niall Sheehy also told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that having hired 60 new employees, bringing its overall number here to 200, the business would be recruiting more workers in 2014.
“It has been a tremendous journey since we started operations and launched Columbus Barbados six months ago. Our market was the first of Columbus’ residential subsidiaries to launch fibre to the home and Internet protocol television video services in the region,” he said.
“Over the next few years we will be investing in excess of US$60 million to roll out services to residents and businesses throughout the island and by December 2013, at least 50 per cent of households throughout the island will have access to our services.
“One of our biggest achievements to date for our customers is the availability to 150 mbps [megabits per second] to the home. As of November 1, Barbados will be the first Caribbean island to have access to broadband speeds of up to 150 mbps, the fastest speeds available to residential customers in the Caribbean,” he added.
Sheehy also asserted that the competition Columbus/Flow brought to the Barbados market had forced its rivals here to drop their prices.
“In less than a year, the Barbados market has seen a major transformation in the ICT landscape, with maximum download speeds increasing from 8mbps to a whopping 150 mbps. More importantly, customers are accessing this increased bandwidth for much less,” he said.
“Since Columbus has been in the market, the price of bandwidth has dramatically decreased by as much as 42 per cent. A few months ago, customers would pay approximately $186 for an 8mbps package. Today, you can pay $200, just a few dollars more, for a Flow 150mpbs package.”
Sheehy also said the company was preparing to launch its Enabling Learning Through Technology programme, providing Barbados’ primary and secondary schools “within our serviceable footprint” with free broadband, educational video and discounted telephony services.
“This programme will be launched in 2014. In the various markets in which the programme is already active, we have seen primary schools set up an online radio station to broadcast positive messages about achievements, we have seen schools create Wi-Fi zones where lessons are shared on the web, where teachers create their own Math and English teaching software to enhance performance in these areas,” he said.
“So we are eager to see how teachers and students in Barbados will incorporate technology into their learning and teaching environments.”