My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Valentine's Day 4G LTE means Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access for 4G LTE

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Valentine's Day 4G LTE means Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access for 4G LTE

“The launch of 4G LTE services positions us on a par with the gold standard for mobile data used in the United States. We have invested to meet our commitment to deliver a world class mobile data and voice experience to our customers.”

Chief Executive Officer of BTC Geoff Houston, on the launch of 4G LTE in Bahamas

Telecom Provider LIME was not to be outdone on Valentine’s Day, albeit they reserved to show their love in another country, that being Bahamas. This as CWC (Cable and Wireless Communications) parent company of LIME Jamaica and partner in BTC (Bahamas Telecommunications Company) chose to launch LTE (Long Term Evolution) in that country. 

Effectively, Bahamas now has the largest deployment of 4G LTE in the Caribbean, with just four (4) of their largest islands covered by the service since on Friday February 14th 2014 with an aggressive roll-out plan for the rest of the month of February 2014 and beyond.

Details of the BTC 700MHz LTE Launch were sent to my email on Friday February 14th 2014 from Head of Internal and External Communications at CWC (Cable & Wireless Communications), Steve Shepperson-Smith via BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) from his email and later published on the Geezam blog in Kelroy’s article “Bahamas Upgraded to LTE Mobile Data”.

Here’s a screenshot of the email and it’s attachment that I’d received from of Internal and External Communications at CWC Steve Shepperson-Smith:

The LTE Deployment for Bahamas uses the same 700 MHz Spectrum that we’re having difficulty getting FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) Telecom Providers to build their Networks as stated in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's 700MHz Spectrum Auction fails to attract bidders on Friday October 11 2013 - Jamaicans Lack interest in Broadband Internet and no Telecom Regulator for the Sector”.

BTC's upgrade was facilitated by Huawei, the same Telecom Equiptment Provider that worked with CLARO Jamaica to introduce Jamaicans to 3G Internet as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”.

BTC's 15 year license is for the 700 MHz Band, which ensures a wide range of compatibility with various smartphones that have 4G LTE Built in and ensures coverage even inside of buildings that have Steel in their structure as pointed out in my blog article entitled No Bidders thus far for the 700MHz Spectrum Auction for 4G LTE - CAPEX concerns as Serious Man of Steel Investors are needed to assist Jamaica to become a more Connected Society

In fact, the Bahamas Government Spectrum Management Authority’s Band Allocations are identical, as they are also guided by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) in their Spectrum Allocation for 4G LTE my blog article entitledStakeholder Consultation Forum on the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction - How the Spectrum Auction process for Band 17 and Band 13 of the 700 Mhz Band Works”.

Bahamians are now experiencing speeds of between 10-15 MBps, effectively the lower end speed of Digicel's WiMaX Services as explained in my Geezam blog article entitledHow to setup and troubleshoot your Digicel 4G Broadband Modem”, making Video Calling and real-time Streaming on smartphones a reality.

Jamaica and 4G LTE – UNCHR Right to Broadband Access needed to empower Jamaicans

Jamaica is yet to even coming close to achieving this coveted milestone. Most likely because we still seem to the rest of the World like the Wild, Wild West, Jamaicans being unable to comprehend the importance of having Broadband Internet on us all the time. This is glaringly obvious from our Governments lack of preparation in terms of:

1.      Additional phone numbers via a new Area Code from the NANP (North American Numbering Plan) as described in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Game Catching Fire of Mobile Computing

2.      MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) which is slated to come on stream in May 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled OUR sets Cross-Network Rates at JA$1.10 as of Monday July 1 2013 - Everything is Possible as we’re Zombies for Data World War Z 

3.      Alternative Spectrum for AWS (Advance Wireless Services) and WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for microwave Access), spectrum for which is still unsold as indicated in my blog article entitled “GOJ and MSTEM auctioning WiMaX and AWS Spectrum by Monday December 5th 2013 - AWS for Point-to-point, Point-to-Multipoint Networks and Residential WiMaX for Economic Prosperity

4.      Lack of a Telecom Regulator, which we won’t get until July 2014, assuming the persons is found to spearhead the formation of such an entity as stated in my blog article entitled “New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014”.

Still it’s not all bad. Our steadily increasing love for smartphone and Tablets that has begun to rise since December 2013 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Jamaicans falls in love with Digicel's DL600 and DL700 during Christmas 2013 - Sub-US$100 smartphones driving rapid smartphone adoption in Jamaica as Manufacturing is Possible recently received a boost from Digicel.

This as Digicel has made it more convenient to activate a Data Plan on devices such as Tablets and smartphones via their newly minted DataFlex Prepaid Card, also launched on Friday February 14th 2014 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Digicel’s launches DataFlex Prepaid Data Credit - Tablet Data Account top-up sans USSD codes as Data is Hot and Pay the Right Price Campaign needed once again”.

So it’s really a double-Valentine’s Day Present if the two are considered in Tandem. There is hope yet that we Jamaicans may develop a love for Broadband Internet aside from just using it for Facebook based on my analysis in my Geezam blog article entitledJamaica’s Low Net Penetration – Broadband Internet A Universal Right”.

Once the Government of Jamaica, through the kind auspices of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining enshrines the section of the UNCHR (United Nations Charter of Human Rights) as it relates to Access to Broadband Internet, making it a Right for all Jamaicans to demand Access to Broadband Internet. Much in the same way residents of Milk River had tried and failed to get Broadband Internet from Digicel WiMaX after petitioning Digicel Jamaica in 2011.

Thus, armed with such legislation, regular citizens such as those in Milk River, Clarendon could have hire Legal Council on their behalf make a case against Local Telecom Providers. They could thus put pressure on Telecom Providers to provide Broadband access in areas where there is a demand based on the signed petitions of a fixed number of residents who express an interest to have Broadband Internet in their community.

Here’s a link to Press Release from BTC:

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