Eutel reception to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

 

ST. EUSTATIUS--St. Eustatius telecommunication company Eutel is not yet meeting the standard for minimum broadband speeds as set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), but the company is in the process of meeting these benchmarks, says Eutel Managing Director/CEO Maryteresse “Liesje” Lijfrock-Redan.

Her remarks were made at the company’s celebration to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Saturday with a party in the Lions Den.

Eutel uses an outdated copper network and the legacy Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) technology. This outdated network and technology need to be upgraded or replaced, she said. An upgrade will allow Eutel to improve subscriber’s bandwidth speeds and offer additional “over-the-top” services, Lijfrock-Redan said.

The company, as it did last year, will continue to take large investment steps to upgrade from ADSL to Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL), she explained. The idea of VDSL – fibre-to-the-home – is to bring fibre-optic cables from Eutel’s central office to each neighbourhood to connect them to new active street cabinets. Once completed, all customers within one kilometres’ range of the VDSL equipment will be able to download speeds up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps).

Eutel has received a small subsidy from Agentschap Telecom to help in realizing part of the VDSL deployment. The local telecom company will fund the remaining two-thirds balance to complete the project slated for realization in October.

One of Eutel’s goals for this year is to intensify negotiations with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agentschap Telecom, and Saba Statia Cable System (SSCS) about the costs for bandwidth.

“I can say some progress has been made and better rates have been negotiated. Subject of further negotiations is to discuss potential options for subsidies on either the front-end (directly to customers) or back-end (subsidy to Eutel),” she said.

Eutel also plans to add new services such as IP-TV and mobile services as bundle packages together with its fixed line service and Internet service.

A five-year Business Plan for Eutel has been created with support of Netherlands Telecom Consulting and Support (NTCS) to create a sustainable future for Eutel. The main objective of the company is “to provide higher quality and speed for equal prices – creating better value for money,” she said.

This current year is dedicated to realizing three strategic goals: the upgrade of technical infrastructure, to achieve affordable bandwidth and intensify partnerships.

   Eutel faced a deterioration of financial results in 2017 compared to earlier years mainly due to the loss of one business partner that became a competitor and a major explosion in the equipment room that cost the company more than US $350,000.

In attendance were Government Commissioner Marcolino Franco and Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Stegers, Eutel board president Carlos Lopes, board members Ingra Bennet, Andrenne Roulston, Alex Demming, and Julian Hinckson. Sjahairah Fleming served as Mistress of Ceremonies and Edna Williams sang the Golden Rock song.

Lopes gave the audience a brief history about the development of telecommunications services on the island, as well as the company’s evolution from the Netherlands Antilles-based Landsradio to Eutel.

Franco spoke of his first conversation with Lijfrock-Redan where they discussed conditions and future of the Internet service on the island.

Guest speaker NTCS partner/consultant Jelmer Gulmans focused on broadband network technology strategy and deployment including fixed and mobile networks, triple-play and value-added services. He also spoke of Eutel’s plans for the future.