Paul Hutton-Ashkenny
Systems Resource Group

Data Integration and Communications Company ***Systems Resource Group Ltd.*** has created DigiTel Networks as the first private sector provider of voice telephony services.

The Public Utilities Commission, after a “competitive and open application process”, executed the wide-ranging radiocommunications and telecommunications licence, allowing the introduction of ground breaking mobile broadband services, together with international and domestic voice services. Paul Hutton- Ashkenny, President of SRG, described the move as a compelling demonstration of the Bahamas Government’s commitment to liberalisation of the sector.

Already announced is construction of a state of the art multi-million dollar wireless infrastructure that will encompass the major island groups of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco. A raft of consumer and business services will permit fixed and mobile broadband data, including Internet, to desktop and handheld devices.

DigiTel’s voice offering also will allow consumers and businesses to take advantage of the same wireless infrastructure, and empower consumer choice through the introduction of competitive fixed voice telephony services for the first time, with market forces acting as a catalyst to drive down the cost of telephone usage, and deliver heightened levels of customer service.

*”Our telecommunications licence will permit us to offer the first and only competitive voice services in the country to those historically offered by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC),* said Mr. Hutton-Ashkenny. *”In direct competition with BTC, we will offer a full range of fixed telephony and mobile data services giving consumers a choice in both telephone and broadband provider companies for the first time ever. History is being made and in more ways than one, because DigiTel brings a wireless world to both the residential and corporate markets of The Bahamas.”*

SRG’s Chairman, Dr. David Allen, adds that the project will allow international businesses and Bahamian consumers alike to take advantage of technological advances that are available in only the most advanced jurisdictions worldwide. He continued, * “The Bahamas will position itself as an innovative jurisdiction for e-commerce services, and send a clear signal to competing jurisdictions with respect to continuance of its leadership role in regional telecommunications deregulation.”*

The SRG group of companies also includes Digital Systems (Bahamas) Limited (DSBL); Internet (Bahamas) Limited (IBL); and Bahamas On-line. According to the group’s mission statement, its goal is to be recognised as the leading, offshore information technology, eCommerce and communications solution provider. It is mandated to build lasting relationships with clients, crafting innovative, managed solutions to meet their current and future business needs. SRG is determined to remain at the forefront of the profession by “encouraging new learning, research and skills enhancement in leading edge and emerging technologies.”

SRG has announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO) once services are introduced. In the meantime the company is seeking to raise some $8 million through a private placement offering. It is anticipated that voice telephony services will be offered from January 1, 2004 but data services should begin this year. The terms of the licence calls for DigitTel to have 54% population coverage by October 2004, with 90% coverage by October 2007.