**Jamaica Telecommunications Licence**
Cable Bahamas has announced that FibraLink Jamaica Ltd., a controlled subsidiary of its wholly owned subsidiary, Caribbean Crossings Ltd., has been issued a licence by the Jamaican Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to build and operate a submarine fibre optic cable to Jamaica.
The license issued by OUR is for a term of twenty years and allows FibraLink Jamaica to build and operate fibre optic networks from Jamaica and to provide any type of telecommunications service within Jamaica or between Jamaica and any other point in the world on a wholesale basis.
The submarine fibre network is planned to land on the Bahamian islands of Andros, Exuma, Long Island, Crooked Island, Inauga – and Jamaica. Richard W. Pardy, Chief Executive Officer of Cable Bahamas, says *”We are extremely pleased with this license award. There are many benefits of this license for both The Bahamas and Jamaica. Cable Bahamas will be in a position to offer its high-speed broadband services to the Southern Bahamas, a market that does not have access to advanced telecommunications services. This will allow services like distance education, telemedicine, digital cable television and GSM wireless services to be extended to those Family Islands. This submarine fibre network will undoubtedly enhance the economic development opportunities of the Southern Bahamian islands.”*
Mr. Pardy further says that since Caribbean Crossings built its fibre network to the United States the company has driven down the price of bandwidth to The Bahamas by 75%. As a result, proportionally more Bahamians use high-speed Internet than any country in this hemisphere.
The total capital cost of the project has been forecast to be $50 million and will involve the construction of 2,600 kilometers of submarine fibre optic cable. According to Mr. Pardy *”We have structured this project to encourage The Bahamas’ investment community to participate. During the first quarter of 2005 we will be engaging the Bahamian investment community as partners in this historic nation-building project, linking The Bahamas and Jamaica with a submarine fibre-optic cable”.*
To complete the construction and operation of the submarine cable, system FibraLink Jamaica will also require environmental approvals in Jamaica and the approval of the Bahamas Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Caribbean Crossing was awarded a license by the PUC in 2001 to build and operate a submarine fibre system linking Grand Bahama, New Providence, Eleuthera and Abaco to Florida. The company says the project was a prime example of the benefits of deregulation of the telecommunications sector in The Bahamas as articulated by the Governments’ Telecommunications Sector Policy. *”With the entrepreneurial drive and investment capital of Cable Bahamas, we have seen The Bahamas become an integral part of the Caribbean’s telecommunications infrastructure. This simply could not have happened without the foresight of the Government of The Bahamas in setting the framework to encourage private companies to invest in The Bahamas’ telecommunications infrastructure.”*
Cable Bahamas Ltd., majority owned by 2,500 Bahamians and the Government of the Bahamas, provides:
(1) world-class cable television service on 16 Bahamian islands;
(2) high-speed Internet access services in Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera and New Providence; telecommunications services between the Bahamas and the rest of the world with a 1,000-kilometer submarine fiber-optic system owned and operated by Caribbean Crossings Ltd, a wholly–owned subsidiary; and
(3) web-hosting, data center and disaster recovery services through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Maxil Communications Ltd.
Cable Bahamas’ ordinary shares trade on the Bahamas International Stock Exchange (BISX).