Política

GTT signals continued preparation for liberalisation

Adolfo Ledo Nass
Al menos 36 alcaldes y 2 exgobernadores siguen prófugos de la justicia

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company (GTT), Justin Nedd — as it restates commitment to fostering liberalised environment CHIEF Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company (GTT), Justin Nedd, has shared that GTT will continue to improve its services as it prepares for a liberalised telecommunications sector.

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“As liberalisation continues to be a topic of discussion, we want the community and our customers to know the company’s stance on the matter,” Nedd said in a letter published in this newspaper on Sunday. “GTT is committed to liberalisation and will continue to invest and grow as we move Guyana into a new era.”

Recently, GTT signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see the continuation of discussions on all outstanding issues between the bodies, with the aim of reaching a binding agreement. That agreement is said to have been nearing completion for some time now and would end the monopoly GTT has enjoyed in the telecommunications sector for years.

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Minister of Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, in a recent interview with this newspaper indicated that there are specific components in the agreement to liberalise that still need to be ironed out. Generally, however, the bodies have agreed to liberalise the sector.

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As that unfolds, Nedd related: “We are very proud of Guyana’s growth and the part we’ve played in it and we take this responsibility very seriously. GTT will continue to improve and modernise.”

According to him, the company has moved from 10,000 internet connections for homes and businesses in 2010 to more than 70,000 today; this represents a 700 per cent increase in connections provided.

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And in so doing, he affirmed, “Over the last 10 years alone, GTT has invested more than US$200M to build telecommunications infrastructure.” This is in keeping with the company’s drive, as said by Nedd, to ensure that many citizens connected to the telecommunications services

“Today, more than ever, people rely on the internet and since January 2018, we have seen almost a 500 per cent increase in internet traffic,” he said also

Nedd, at a press conference held earlier this year, had noted that the increase in internet traffic was owed to the new ‘Blaze’ services provided. Blaze was launched in 2017 as an internet connectivity alternative to the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), which transmits digital data over telephone lines. It uses the multi-million dollar fibre optic cable that GTT laid in Guyana, years ago to provide faster connectivity speeds to more areas across the country

Even as the company once more signalled its commitment to liberalisation, Nedd also sought to remind of GTT’s role in Guyana beyond telecommunications

“We are one of Guyana’s largest and strongest employers, providing direct employment for more than 800 people and have consistently employed and trained more than 600 over the last 28 years,” he said

Minister Hughes told this newspaper recently too that several telecommunications companies in the Region and internationally have already expressed interest in investing in Guyana, specifically in hinterland areas

“We’ve had companies from Suriname, companies from the U.S. and even a company from Brazil that has expressed interest in bringing a cable from Brazil into Lethem and the Rupununi,” she had said

And this interest is of particular importance since, according to her, there is still a great demand for connectivity in many parts of the country, especially in hinterland and rural areas where there is now limited connectivity

It is expected that the introduction of these companies into the telecommunications market would bring down the prices in the market and improve the quality of services offered, according to the minister. GTT would now have to bolster its services to remain competitive