The Government of Montserrat through the Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG) today signed a landmark multi-million-dollar deal with Southern Caribbean Fiber (SCF), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digicel Group, for the installation of a new subsea fibre optic cable system.
Made possible through the UK-funded Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG), the 15-year agreement, worth in excess of XCD$16m, sees SCF managing, maintaining and operating a new 25 kilometre fibre optic cable which paves the way for faster, more reliable and more resilient internet connectivity through Guadeloupe and Antigua. The agreement also provides for 10 years of high speed broadband internet access for the delivery of its services for the Government of Montserrat for free.
SCF won the contract as part of a competitive international tendering process, and aims to complete the installation of Montserrat’s new fibre optic system by the summer of 2020.
Commenting on the landmark agreement, The Premier and Minister of Finance, Donaldson Romeo said; “It’s been a long road but now we stand ready to reap the rewards of being a part of a connected global digital economy. This project is truly transformational; constituting a major step forward in our development efforts and positioning us strongly as a foreign investment destination.”
Governor of Montserrat, His Excellency Andrew Pearce, OBE, said “It is inspiring to see the UK investment programme for Montserrat bearing fruit after many months of rigorous negotiation. Better, faster and more resilient internet services will make a significant difference to people’s lives and provide new entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Chief Executive Officer of Southern Caribbean Fiber, Valery Bijou, said; “With connectivity comes opportunity. We are delighted to be partnering with the Government of Montserrat to help provide an interconnected empowered future for the people of Montserrat. In a few months, Montserrat will take its place in the digital economy and be able to drive transformational progress to the benefit of all – and as a Caribbean-based provider, we’re excited to be powering that progress.”
Montserrat has been without international fibre optic connectivity for more than 20 years, when the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano cut the island off from its undersea branch of the Eastern Caribbean Fibre System. Since then, all of Montserrat’s international telephony and data communications have been routed via a microwave network to Antigua.
The Project will be overseen by the Programme Management Office in the Ministry of Finance, and the Department for Information Technology and E-Government Services (DITES) under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier.
About Southern Caribbean Fiber (SCF)
The Southern Caribbean Fiber Group of companies (“SCF”) is the most recently secured submarine cable telecommunication operator connecting 17 points of presence and serving all the islands of the Eastern Caribbean, including Trinidad, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia,
Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Barth, St. Martin, St. Croix and Puerto Rico offering the most reliable connectivity and latency optimised connectivity to Miami, New York and Paris.
SCF is composed of the original Middle Caribbean Network, Southern Caribbean Fiber and Antilles Crossing submarine fibre networks along with fibers assets on Global Caribbean Network. Digicel Group acquired SCF in 2014.
Capital Investment for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG)
Under the Montserrat Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG), the UK Government will provide up to £30 million over five years (2018- 2023) for strategic infrastructure development on Montserrat, to support economic growth, enhance resilience against natural disasters and promote the role of the private sector.