Marine Survey for Subsea Fibre Project Completed

(l to r) Stephen Walsh, Digicel Montserrat, Dave Williams, Network Engineer, DITES; Simon Laugier, SCF survey representative; Denzil West, Director, DITES photographed on survey vessel Ridley Thomas.

The project to reconnect Montserrat to the international submarine fibre network, and the transformational benefits and opportunities that come with it, continues apace with the news that the marine survey work required to install Montserrat’s new subsea fibre optic cable connectivity has been completed.

Co-ordinated by Southern Caribbean Fibre (SCF), a wholly owned subsidiary of Digicel Group, the survey work took place over a nine-day period, wrapping up on Thursday 16th January. The work was carried out by EGS Survey, using the survey vessel Ridley Thomas. Comprising two survey vessels, divers, marine surveyors, land surveyors, geophysicists, engineers and IT experts, the team of 33 people worked non-stop 24 hours a day to get the job done on time.

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.

With the project targeted for completion this summer, SCF was selected through a competitive tender process to manage, maintain and operate a new 25 kilometre fibre optic cable which paves the way for faster, more reliable and more resilient internet connectivity.

Commenting on the progress, Director of the Department of Information Technology and E-Government Services (DITES), Denzil West, said “We have hit another important milestone in our project to reconnect Montserrat to the global knowledge economy with the news that SCF has now completed the survey work for the new Montserrat fibre optic cable. Once a final review of the data has been conducted, the project will be ready to take the next step towards installation and with it provide access to a world of new opportunities.”

Chief Executive Officer of Southern Caribbean Fibre, Valery Bijou, said; “We’re forging ahead with our mission to ensure that Montserrat is part of a connected global digital economy. I would like to thank the teams for their diligence and hard work and likewise thank the Government of Montserrat for its partnership as we work together to power progress for the people of Montserrat.”

About Southern Caribbean Fibre (SCF)
The Southern Caribbean Fibre 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 Fibre and Antilles Crossing submarine fibre networks along with fibers assets on Global Caribbean Network. Digicel Group acquired SCF in 2014.

About Capital Investment Programme 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. Key projects include: the Hospital, laying of fibre optic cable to improve the internet connectivity of the island, upgrading road and bridges; renovation of the Montserrat Secondary School and the construction of social housing.