Remarks by Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham
at the Launch of BTC 4G
5 December 2011
We have reached an important milestone in a 14 year voyage during which my Government was motivated by one thing: To bring to consumers in The Bahamas the best of what is available in telecommunications globally, to ensure that those services are reliable and accessible at affordable prices throughout our country.
Overwhelmingly, people today book their travel, choose their vacation destinations, select their hotels and select their tours on line.
Today international financial services, much as local banking, are conducted overwhelmingly online; meetings take place via teleconference calls and bids and trades are placed electronically.
Increasingly today education and health are becoming reliant on the electronic media.
Today, I am satisfied that BTC is making remarkable progress toward delivering on undertakings made to the Government and to the people of The Bahamas.
Eight months ago making a cellular phone call from New Providence to a Family Island was a long distance call. That is no longer the case. That changed in July resulting in millions of dollars of savings passed on to Bahamian consumers as a result of cheaper inter-island calls. Soon we expect that will be the case for telephone calls regardless of whether the calls are placed from land lines or cell phones.
Today, BTC launches its 4G network, installed by Erricson. When completed country-wide, from Abaco and Grand Bahama in the north to Inagua in the south, this new cellular network will represent a new $43 million investment by BTC.
I am advised that this launch will be followed by the launch of 4G in Grand Bahama next week. And that will be followed by the launch in the remaining Family Islands – a project scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2012.
I am also told that this new cellular network will provide mobile telephone users, and mobile tablet users of devices such as the
i-Pad, the ability to surf the internet at land-line speeds. 4G will change the way many of us communicate, socialize, do business, enjoy music and entertainment and participate in the creative economy.
It will also mean crisper clearer voice mobile connections and better coverage.
In the most basic terms, and complementing Government’s e-government initiative, this new technology means that BTC is offering a modern platform where persons are able to complete a banking transaction and renew their driver’s licence from their mobile phone devise while taking care of other matters. Eventually Bahamians and residents can expect to pay their Real Property Tax or submit an NIB contribution online as 4G will allow us to do on our smart phones what we can now do from a computer.
It will permit you to do exciting things like watch a Dolphins or Miami Heat game if you have those mobile applications on your smart phone, or make a dinner reservation, check on the status of a flight, download music or upload a YouTube video of your family at the Christmas dinner table.
I believe that BTC’s introduction of 4G, as well as the opening of this beautiful new retail experience centre, demonstrates the Company’s commitment to the Bahamian public. As you have heard here tonight, this is the first of 50 stores to be opened, significantly expanding BTC’s retail footprint around The Bahamas.
BTC is creating new and additional employment opportunities. Perhaps more significantly the majority of the retail stores will be owned and operated by Bahamian entrepreneurs, creating more investment opportunities for enterprising Bahamians.
I was happy to learn that all this work done at this “retail experience centre” was carried out by a Bahamian contractor with Bahamian labour and that its designers were keen to incorporate elements of Bahamian culture.
I commend BTC staff for the level of professionalism displayed during the ownership and management transition. It is apparent that all the stakeholders are seeking to make BTC a robust and profitable organization for years to come.
I congratulate Mr. Geoff Houston and the entire team on their accomplishments to date and most particularly for all those that participated in making the dream of this flagship “retail experience centre” a reality. We look forward with much anticipation to continued growth and success for BTC and for The Bahamas.
I thank you and good evening.