TelEm’s Telecommunications Day message is hopeful for fiber optic roll out

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POND ISLAND – TelEm Group management marked the occasion of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day on Tuesday, May 17, by spotlighting ongoing plans to create an island-wide fiber optic network that will revolutionize telecommunication services in St. Maarten.

The company’s hopes lie in the expansion of a “Smart City” program in which three districts have been chosen to test out Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connections for a wider fiber optic network.

Not only will the new technology enable exciting new telecommunication features in the home and office at previously unattainable speeds, it will also pave the way for a host of new business opportunities for creative, and innovative individuals in the St. Maarten community.

Addressing these developments on World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, Tuesday, TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel said once again the company is ahead of the game in anticipating the theme of the International Telecommunications Union for World Telecommunications and Information Society Day today: “ICT entrepreneurship for social impact.”

“We are already laying the groundwork for future entrepreneurial activity and indeed, we believe that once we have rolled out our fiber optic network to the homes and businesses, the impact on everyone on St. Maarten will be incalculable,” continued Etnel.

She said just the possibilities offered by e-learning; cloud computing; virtual environments; web hosting; apps development; Call Center management; data storage; online security camera systems; entertainment possibilities, or as the wider industry likes to refer to  it, the application for “internet of things” are only some of the new business opportunities that otherwise would not be available to individuals.

“We have already secured funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to put this fiber optic infrastructure in place for FTTH and we have learned much from the three test projects where we have installed Fiber-to-the-Home systems. We have trained our local personnel and also our own local contractors so that we are properly equipped to meet the challenge of building this new fiber optic network island-wide in the shortest possible time,” said Etnel.

Etnel wholeheartedly agrees with today’s message by ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao that, “Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and technology hubs are the drivers of innovative and practical solutions for catalyzing progress especially in developing countries.”

She said in St. Maarten, as in other parts of the world, small to medium-sized enterprises make up the greater percentage of business activity and represent for many, a path toward business success, providing of jobs and generally lifting of the economy and creation of wealth.

“TelEm Group remains committed to providing its customers and the community of St. Maarten with the technology of the day that will help to improve society generally. We believe we are taking a giant step in that direction with our plan for an island-wide FTTH infrastructure, and use the occasion of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day today to remind ourselves and everyone of that commitment,” Etnel stated.

“Management also takes this opportunity to congratulate everyone in the Telecommunications sector, and especially personnel of TelEm Group, for their continued commitment and pride in providing a vital service to the St. Maarten community that is fundamental to the well-being and development of society. Happy World Telecommunications and Information Society Day!” she concluded.