Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Flow decommissions Dekal Wireless network

Published:Friday | July 1, 2022 | 12:08 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter

Flow Jamaica has decommissioned the service of Dekal Wireless, a network that was acquired by the company in 2014 to deepen its reach into rural Jamaica.

The decommissioning, which took effect on Thursday, June 30, comes amid an ongoing expansion of Internet and IPTV services by Flow Jamaica into more unserved and underserved communities across Jamaica. Dekal’s network infrastructure was now limited in its capacity for upgrades, and is being superseded by other technology, the telecoms said.

“Consequent to that ongoing expansion, there are several areas currently served by Dekal Wireless that will now have access to these more modern technologies,” Director of Communications, Kayon Mitchell told the Financial Gleaner regarding the reason for the decommissioning.

Dekal Wireless, a company previously managed by David Lee, started out offering wireless broadband services out of Port Antonio, Portland. Prior to the acquisition by Flow, the Internet service provider utilised super WiFi technology to deliver service nationally, but its business model and market strategy were built on servicing areas of Jamaica where the big telecoms did not operate or where network penetration was low.

At the time, the company was seen as an attractive investment for Cable & Wireless Jamaica Limited, then operating as LIME Jamaica prior to the acquisition of the Flow brand and operations of Columbus International by parent Cable & Wireless Communications Plc.

Since January 2020, Flow said it has connected over 500 communities, and in doing so, has brought more advanced technology to over 200,000 homes. Its mobile LTE network is said to now cover some 97 per cent of Jamaica’s population.

Flow Jamaica did not state the number of customers it has on the Dekal network, nor the estimated cost for the switch over, but told the Financial Gleaner that service migration is well under way.

“With the exception of 28 residential customers whose contact information is outdated, we will complete the migrations within our timeline. For those outstanding customers, we do have new technologies available for them and are trying to reach them via other means,” the company said on Thursday.

With the switchover, Flow noted that the billing cycle of residential customers will be updated, and that they will maintain their current billing rate for the next year.

“For our business customers, new solutions are being designed based on our consultations with them and the availability of a wider range of products and services on our more modern network. There is no cost to the customer for the migration of their services,” Mitchell said.