ST. EUSTATIUS--The public entity St. Eustatius and telecom company EUTEL NV have concluded an agreement with Saba Statia Cable System (SSCS) BV for Internet capacity for the coming five years. SSCS is owned by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations.
The arrangement provides more Internet capacity at a lower cost. In the coming months direct connections will be established between Statia and Miami, Florida, a major international Internet node where Internet capacity is relatively cheaper. Statia will be connected to Miami via two routes so that if one connection is lost, the other route can take over, so-called “geographical redundancy.”
Everyone in Statia will benefit once the direct connections to Miami are established, which is likely to take place in early 2021. The financial benefits of this deal will be fully transferred to customers and businesses in Statia. These higher speeds will also make it possible for EUTEL to provide higher quality television.
All consumer packages will receive a reduction of the monthly tariff and all connections are to receive considerable higher speeds than currently is the case. EUTEL will publish the new speeds and tariffs later this year.
This price reduction will be additional to the recently-announced increase of the monthly subsidy from the Dutch government of US $25 in 2020 to $35 in 2021 on all Internet connections in Statia.
The public entity and EUTEL said Monday that they were “pleased” with these price reductions and considerably higher Internet speeds for businesses and government to work more efficiently. “Students will be able to learn from home, while general consumers will be able to keep in contact with their friends and family abroad,” they said in a press statement issued by the communications department of the National Department Caribbean Netherlands RCN.
State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, who is also responsible for information society and government, said he is “glad” with the increase of possibilities under the agreement. Not only in the European Netherlands is he committed to access to digitisation, but also in the Caribbean Netherlands. Saba has also been invited to take advantage of this offer.
The island government of St. Eustatius and EUTEL reached this agreement with the help of Netherlands Telecom Consulting and Support (NTCS), an independent consulting firm that supported EUTEL in elaborating various scenarios to obtain a significantly lower purchase price and increase the Internet capacity, also called “IP transit.”
Parties cooperated in the project with SSCS, which operates the submarine cable that connects Statia and Saba with other submarine cable systems in the neighbouring islands St. Maarten, St. Barths and St. Kitts.