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New market entrant Neptune to power internet connection through satellites

Jamaica’s telecoms regulator issued three licences in May to Neptune Communications Jamaica, Solar Internet Repairs Tech Limited, and large operator Digicel.

But only Barbadian-owned Neptune is new to the market and will be using satellite technology to connect corporate clients to the internet.

Like Neptune, Solar Internet Repairs, which has been in operation for several years, also received a carrier and internet service provider licence, while two-decade-old Digicel, which serves the largest number of mobile customers locally, received a data service provider and internet service provider licence. The Solar Internet and Digicel licences appear to be renewals.

A single company may hold multiple licences.

Neptune is planning to provide a secondary backup system for government and corporate clients using satellite technology, thereby ensuring more reliable connectivity in the country, said the company, which had its licence approved on May 10.

“Therefore, we have taken swift action to launch our suite of products and services. We aim to provide our Jamaican clients with the highest level of customer service using technology that is dependable, secure, to close those gaps, and to bring the most recent technological advancements to the Jamaican market,” said Brian Bennett-Easy, managing director of Neptune Communications Jamaica, in a company statement.

Efforts at comment from the company were unsuccessful up to press time.

“Neptune has already secured commercial arrangements with global satellite service providers, ensuring 100 per cent geographic coverage of the island, and the Caribbean as a whole,” the release added.

The service should provide redundancy, allowing connectivity even during bad storms that can be disruptive to fibre-optic cable networks through which Jamaica currently connects to the United States.

“Within the coming weeks, Neptune Jamaica and the wider group will finalise our operational cadence. Some customer service kits are already on the island, with more en route and on order, in preparation for an expected above-average hurricane season. This is a mission-critical roll-out, given possible exogenous shock that may come. Our mission-critical drive is to ensure Jamaica is always on,” said Bennett-Easy in the release.

The Office of Utilities Regulation updates its list of licences periodically. There are roughly 138 telecom licences in issue, but many licensees have multiple listings. That’s because firms may require more than one licence, depending on their suite of products and services. For instance, Digicel received two licences in May but also holds a number of other licences, such as international carrier, domestic voice service provider, domestic carrier, data service provider, domestic mobile carrier, domestic mobile service provider, and international voice service provider.

Solar Internet Repairs, based at North Street in Montego Bay, offers network engineering, high-speed internet and internet TV services. The company, whose principal is identified as Kenrick Gordon, also offers computer repairs, solar energy installation, and other engineering services.

Gordon was said to be in meetings overseas and was not reached for comment.

The telecommunications sector continues to perform fairly strongly since the onset of the pandemic. For the third quarter of 2021, July to September, sector revenue amounted to $26.9 billion, up from $24.9 billion in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest Telecoms Market Information Report published by the OUR.

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