Friday, September 4, 2015

Caribbean Roundup – Regional
Dominican Republic releases internet targets – Dominican R.
Costa Rica’s state telco files suit against comptroller – Costa Rica
New Inmarsat satellite to shake up LatAm broadband market – Regional
LatAm international connectivity reaches 20.6Tbps – Regional

Caribbean Roundup – Regional
Huawei has started distributing smartphones in Trinidad and Tobago in partnership with bMobile.
“This is the first time we have officially launched our smartphone devices in this country. And we are equally excited to partner with our long-time strategic partner, TSTT, through their Blink-Bmobile brand, to bring our device to the T&T customer,” said general manager Jason Deng, as quoted by portal Tech News TT.
TSTT has been in partnership with Huawei since 2012, when the company introduced its 4G service built on Huawei’s infrastrucure. bMobile will offer four models, including the Y330, G7, P7 and Mate 7.
Dominican Republic telecom watchdog Indotel announced the deactivation of 2.1mn unused lines for subscribers who could not be identified.
Indotel notified the respective operators of the deactivation, and said that it was keeping a close eye on inactive lines that could lead to losses for the providers, according to newspaper El Día.
The institution also said that it may sanction providers that activate lines without verifying the identity of the subscriber.
Digicel Jamaica announced the expansion of its fiber network in Montego Bay, reported the Jamaica Gleaner.
The project continues the expansion of the Digicel Business fiber network, with an investment of US$600mn.
The expansion is scheduled to be completed in October.

Dominican Republic releases internet targets – Dominican R.
The Dominican Republic plans to increase its internet penetration to 70% by 2020 from nearly 52% last year.
This goal is part of the 2016-20 digital agenda that the country is currently tweaking through a public consultation, which will be in place until September.
The agenda also looks to increase the number of homes with at least one computer to 40% from 30% in the next five years, while the target for homes with broadband access will be 25% from 18.6%. The plan also calls for the rate of internet subscriptions to grow to 50.8% from 39.9%.
The plan is built around infrastructure and access, e-government, digital education, productive development and a suitable environment for the advance of IT.
According to Gedeón Santos, head of telecom watchdog Indotel, the goal of the plan is to access and usage of IT among the Dominican population.

Costa Rica’s state telco files suit against comptroller – Costa Rica
Costa Rican state-owned telco ICE has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s comptroller’s office, claiming it is interfering in decisions involving the future of subsidiary Racsa.
The lawsuit will be heard by a federal administrative court, according to newspaper CRHoy. ICE argues that the comptroller’s office is overstepping its boundaries by auditing broadband provider Racsa, which is currently operating at a loss and has been the subject of market reports linking it to a possible bankruptcy.
ICE president Carlos Obregón has said that Racsa can recover financially from its current situation.

New Inmarsat satellite to shake up LatAm broadband market – Regional
UK satellite communications provider Inmarsat looks to up the ante in Latin America with its new Global Xpress satellite, with which it aims to ramp up data capacity, slash prices and appeal to a broader client base.
The US$1.6bn satellite was launched on Friday from Kazakhstan, and will transmit communications in the Ka-band, marking a strategic move by Inmarsat away from its traditional L-band to one with greater data capacity. The satellite will make a quantum leap in Inmarsat’s data capacity from 500Kbps to 5Mbps upload, and 50Mbps download.
“Even on our current generation of satellites, we have more than 60% of our traffic as data nowadays. So data has taken over voice,” Inmarsat COO Ruy Pinto told BNamericas.
The launch is the third of four satellites that will make up a fleet covering the earth. Global Xpress is the most relevant for Latin America because it covers the Americas. The fourth satellite due for launch by early next year will add redundancy and provide additional capacity.
Conscious that competition has been increasing from other providers of geo-stationary satellite communications and from companies offering cheap backhaul from medium earth orbit satellites like OneWeb and O3b, Inmarsat has been pushing to bring down the cost per megabit and offering flat fee data packages.
Pinto believes that trends such as machine-to-machine and Internet of Things will drive business opportunities for the company. He calls the company’s drive ‘Internet of Everywhere,’ as satellite communications can be used to connect sensors in remote locations and moving objects.
“I think our sweet spot will still be B2B and government B2G. But we’re closely following the trends of those providing more capacity at lower prices per megabit,” he said.
“IoT is almost in the past for us. If you want to track a container or use a smartphone in the desert or in the jungle or on a ship or plane or monitor a pipeline, we can do that. Though we don’t intend to become a backhaul provider, we’re getting close to that market.”

The Global Xpress was launched Friday on board Inmarsat-5 F3 (Credit: Inmarsat).
Inmarsat has traditionally differentiated itself from the competition by focusing on mobility by offering light weight handheld satellite devices.
Mobility has made Inmarsat popular with news media, the maritime and aviation industries and government agencies dealing with disaster zones, as well as the natural resources industries such as the oil and gas industry, which work in remote locations with unreliable communications.
“You can have logistics information for government, for security services or the armed forces. You can do container and cargo tracking. The beauty of our system is it’s applicable across all the markets we serve,” Pinto said.
The company is looking to other areas such as border security control and in-flight connectivity According to Pinto, the company is working with airplane manufacturers Airbus and Brazil’s Embraer.
In the last few years, different Latin American countries have been launching their own satellites both telecommunications, mapping and national security purposes. According to Pinto, such projects are not a threat to Inmarsat’s business in the region, but rather a complement.
“We would like to encourage governments to work with us for them to be interoperable. So when their terminals are out of range, they can use our system, which is global. It doesn’t make economic sense for them to have global system,” Pinto said.
The executive added that in light of all the concern about cybersecurity and espionage, satellite communications tend to be more secure than terrestrial ones.
“Space technology has advantages. You bypass terrestrial loops. There are less stopovers where you could be monitored.”

LatAm international connectivity reaches 20.6Tbps – Regional
Backbone operators providing international connectivity to Latin America now have total active capacity of 20.6Tbps, having grown at 44% CAGR since 2011, according to consultancy Telegeography.
Within this figure, 17.8Tbps (or 86%) corresponds to connectivity to North America making Latin America the most North America-dependent region in the world in terms of internet connectivity.
The next most dependent region is Oceania, where 71% of the connectivity goes to North America, but Oceania’s total connectivity in absolute terms is far less than Latin America’s, at only 1.5Tbps.
Oceania used to be the most North America-dependent region, but has been diversifying for several years and Latin America overtook it in 2010 because most of the new international connectivity in this region is still US-orientated.
In absolute terms, the 17.8Tbps connectivity between Latin America and North America is the single largest inter-regional route in the world, outstripping Europe’s 12.8Tbps bandwidth to North America.
The Latin America-North America route in fact eclipsed the Europe-North America route as the path with the greatest bandwidth in 2014, according to Telegeography’s recently updated Global Internet Geography report.
The 17.8Tbps figure for Latin America-North America equates to 40% growth in bandwidth since mid-2014, whereas global growth of inter-regional capacity was 31% for this period, reaching a total of 180Tbps by mid-2015.

The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members