Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | July 17, 2009
Home : Business
For $445m, LIME hires Calix to expand broadband

Geoff Houston, country manager for LIME Jamaica.

Seeking wider broadband coverage and more clientele, LIME Jamaica has commissioned American firm Calix to supply the communication equipment that will allow the deployment of voice and video at faster speeds, under a US$5 million ($445 million) contract.

The upgrade to be completed in two months will allow upgraded broadband service roll-out in Kingston, Montego Bay, and Portmore.

"LIME is now offering eight MB in selected areas and by the time our upgrade project is finished in September, we will be offering eight MB in most of the residential areas where we have high internet traffic and this will give our customers more than enough speed for all their favourite online activities," said Geoff Houston, country manager for LIME in Jamaica.

Cut internet prices

The company said the upgrade would cut broadband internet prices to residences by as much as 24 per cent. Its current internet broadband service, ADSL, costs about US$25 in monthly rental, or approximately J$2,000.

"We are making a major investment to improve our Internet backbone to give our customers world-class Internet service with faster speeds and consistent, reliable connectivity," said Houston.

The company is, however, several months behind rival Claro Jamaica, which is already promoting its wireless broadband modems at an introductory cost of $4,999, compared, said a customer service representative at Claro's downtown Kingston office, to the regular price of $14,999.

The service is available for a monthly $2,000 to $3,500 unlimited access. A code is required to activate the unlimited plan.

A broadband card is also on offer, specifically for laptops, at a cost of $11,499, the representative said.


The Calix contract follows the build out of LIME Jamaica's 3G network at a hefty US$30 million. That job, handled by Sony Ericsson, was confined the company said this week to the reconstruction of the telecom's mobile network, following a J$5 billion write-off of what LIME decided back in 2007 was inadequate infrastructure incapable of giving the company the heft needed to match rivals Digicel and Claro Jamaica.

Claro was the first to deploy its 3G network and first to market with consumer wireless broadband. Digicel is yet to publicise the launch date for its 4G network services, though the internet buzz on blogs and message boards is for a January 2010 roll-out.

Calix will supply LIME with its C7 Multiservice Access Platform, capable of handling internet traffic from all market segments - government, corporate and residential - the company said in a statement this week announcing the deal with LIME.

The American company's system is already deployed across other country operations in the LIME Caribbean grouping, notably Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis.


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