The Government of Montserrat is standing by its commitment to improve internet connectivity to all residents and has asked local telecommunication providers Flow and Digicel to fast track their plans to install fibre to homes.
Premier Joseph E. Farrell said at his press conference on Tuesday afternoon “recognizing that there is a cost element for connectivity to homes and businesses and to ensure island wide connectivity in the shortest possible time, Government recently took the decision to assist home owners and businesses to access this service at minimal cost.”
Montserrat completed the installation of a new fibre optic cable connection to the island last September. The Government of Montserrat, Digicel and Flow are all connected to and utilizing the new subsea fibre system. Government of Montserrat now has a 1Gbps symmetrical Internet connection which is shared across all government departments.
According to Denzil West, Director of the Department for Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES), the agreement with all parties is still being worked out. The financial subsidy from the government was not revealed. The basic premise will be that government will subsidise a portion of the installation costs for each home and business connected to the fibre optic network.
Neither Flow or Digicel have said whether accessing the improved service will result in monthly increases for customers. However, both currently have teams on the ground working to install new cabling across the island.
The government has set a target date of February 2022. West said both companies are confident they can complete the installations before the end of 2021.
Premier Farrell said “our shared ambition is to make Montserrat the first island in the region to have all premises connected via high speed fibre, to promote not just remote working for people coming to Montserrat, but to make sure that Montserratians are in a position to apply for remote jobs that they can do without leaving the island.”