Cable Bahamas controlling shareholder Columbus Communications Ltd. and New World Network International, Ltd. announced on Monday that they have signed a letter of intent for Columbus to purchase New World Network, a leading provider of advanced, high-speed clear channel and IP services in the Caribbean region. NWN is the principal owner of the Americas Region Caribbean Optical-ring System (ARCOS) — the leading undersea broadband fiber-optic cable network connecting the U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The unique hybrid ownership structure of ARCOS is co-owned by 28 carriers throughout the region.

*”Through the purchase of New World Network, Columbus will substantially enhance its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America region, and obtain access to advanced telecommunications capabilities and bandwidth to augment the services provided by other companies in which Columbus is the controlling shareholder. In addition, New World Network will continue to provide and expand its industry-leading bandwidth services to carriers and other customers throughout the region,”* said Brendan Paddick, Chief Executive Officer of Columbus.

David Martin, President of New World Network (USA) noted that the company is pleased at the prospect of becoming part of the Columbus group of operating companies, joining forces to continue to promote the growth of advanced telecommunications services in the Caribbean and Latin American region.

Columbus intends to interconnect the ARCOS cable system with those of Caribbean Crossings and FibraLink, providing additional geographic reach and redundancy to service offerings for both New World’s and Columbus’ wholesale partners and end-user customers. Earlier this year, Columbus acquired Merit Communications, a leading data provider in Jamaica. Columbus-controlled FibraLink Jamaica Ltd., was recently awarded the exclusive license to build and operate a submarine fibre optic cable network connecting Jamaica to the United States. A wholly owned subsidiary of Cable Bahamas Ltd ., Caribbean Crossings Ltd. owns and operates an undersea fiber optic cable system linking four of the major islands of The Bahamas – Grand Bahama, New Providence, Abaco and Eleuthera with the continental United States.

The purchase of New World Network is subject to the completion of definitive acquisition agreements by Columbus and the shareholders of New World Network, and to the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals. The parties expect the transaction to close during the summer of 2005.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr. Paddick described the purchase as a move to secure The Bahamas’ position as the regional hub for telecommunications. *“We’re taking advantage of The Bahamas’ geographic strategic placement and turning it into a telecommunications strategic placement,”* he said.