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LIME completes US$35 million undersea link

Published:Sunday | February 6, 2011 | 12:00 AM
LIME CEO David Shaw. - File

Cable and Wireless (C&W), the telecoms company that trades in the Caribbean as LIME, says it has completed the buildout of the US$35 million undersea cable connecting Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic. The cable will enhance ability to carry voice and data traffic in the Caribbean and to compete for business.

"The new system ... strengthens LIME's position as the leading wholesale capacity provider and increases its capability to serve its carrier customers in North and Latin America as well as within the Caribbean," the CEO of LIME Caribbean, David Shaw, said on Friday.

LIME operates in 13 Caribbean countries and up to a decade ago, had a near monopoly on telecoms services in most of the former British colonies in the region.


That was until market deregulation and the entry to the region of competitors such as Irishman Dennis O'Brien's mobile phone company Digicel not only dislodged C&W from market leadership, but left it struggling to regain market share, especially in voice telephony.

In Jamaica particularly, where Digicel has its headquarters, LIME has gone through several reorganisations, spent heavily to upgrade systems, and wracked up big losses.

Analysts say that fibre-optic networks such as the one now being launched put LIME in a better position to go after corporate clients - who are more likely to make decisions based on hard economics -even as it seeks to claw its way back in favour with the young 'cool' crowd of mobile phone users who have largely been captured by Digicel. Digicel is estimated to be beating LIME nearly three to one in the mobile market.

In fact, this is the third submarine cable built by LIME in the region since 2008. It joins the CBUS cable between Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, and the Gemini-Bermuda cable between Bermuda and the east coast of the United States.

These, the company said, have enabled LIME to meet the rising demand for high-speed bandwidth from consumers and business customers in the Caribbean. In some markets this might lead to a relative decline in price.

However, LIME's market share for this kind of service was not immediately clear.

"LIME's network is well positioned to benefit from growth in wholesale markets," said Managing Director of Carrier Services Martin Fijman. " The Caribbean is a major traffic corridor between South America and the major Internet, content and carrier hubs in the United States - acknowledged as one of the fastest growing inter-continental routes in the world today."