My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network has July 2014 Completion Date – Launchpad for 4G LTE, Frame Relay, FTTH and Cloud Based PBX Services

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network has July 2014 Completion Date – Launchpad for 4G LTE, Frame Relay, FTTH and Cloud Based PBX Services

“Digicel Business' underground fibre network will enable us to provide our business customers with even greater capacity to take advantage of modern business applications such as cloud computing, infrastructure-as-a-service, videoconferencing and a range of other modern business services. Also, customers using our fibre network will have even greater bandwidth as well as full Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) service to their business. In addition to this, customers will also have more resilient and scalable connectivity options to and from Digicel's Tier III certified data centre”

Head of Enterprise Solutions at Digicel Business, Ative Ennis, commenting on the soon-to-be-completed First Phase of their Mobay to Kingston Fiber Optic Network in an interview with the Gleaner

Telecom Provider Digicel is getting ready to launch 4G LTE pretty soon.

This was after three (3) months they’ve almost completed their JA$600 million Fiber Optic Network, slated for completion this month as stated in “Digicel fibre roll-out on track”, Published Sunday July 20, 2014 by Richard Browne, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

They’re now in the final stages of acquiring Telstar Cable to provide Content for their Streaming TV Cable Service similar to LIME TV as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel acquires Telstar Cable – 4G LTE with a dash of Streaming Cable TV Service”.

This other Fiber Optic Cable laying Exercise, some 22 kilometers long in its first phase, is located in New Kingston and Downtown Kingston, with the remaining located in the Montego Bay area. Nearing completion, the end date for the installation of this first phase is set for July 2014, to quote Head of Enterprise Solutions at Digicel Business, Ative Ennis: “Work is well underway with the roll-out of our underground fibre network in Montego Bay and in Kingston”.

Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Increased Broadband Services for Businesses and Call Centers

Combined with this Fiber Optic build-out, Telecom Provider Digicel will have the Fiber Optic Backhaul needed to interconnect some of their Cell Sites that’ll be provisioned with 4G LTE Antennas, BBU (Base Band Units) via Fiber Optic Termination Cabinets.

This increased Broadband will also allow Telecom Provider Digicel to provide other Services:

1.      Cloud Computing
2.      IaaS e.g. Hosted PBX
3.      Video-Conferencing
4.      MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) 

If this all comes to pass, then it suggests that Telecom Provider Digicel will not only be rolling out 4G LTE with Streaming TV as a VAS (Value Added Service), but also an array of other services. This possibly includes Cloud Based Telephony using their Tier III Data Center as I’d predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct”!

In fact, this installation of a Fiber Optic Network may be in anticipation of the eight (8) Call Center slated to set up shop by the end of 2014 as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Center - 8000 Jobs coming after US$33 million Loan from DGB floated for 8 Call Centers”.

So this was totally expected.

Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Micro-Trenching is not Subterranean as these can be easily dug up

Straddling the Twin Cities of Montego Bay to Kingston, this JA$600 million project was announced back in March 2014 as stated in “Digicel to build sophisticated underground fibre network”, published Wednesday March 26, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner. It’s now progressed fairly quickly, as the Fiber Optic Network is being built one Cable run at a time.

Rather than be run on the JPS Co Poles as overhead Fiber Optic Cable, Telecom Provider Digicel opted to use Micro-trenching to lay their main series of Fiber Optic Cables. An odd choice, since this isn't really subterranean, merely requiring a 4" by 6" trench to be excavated into the ground with a Metallic or Plastic Tray being installed into the Groove.

A Micro-tube with multiple Strands of Fiber Optic Cables is then greased with lubricant and meticulously laid into the metallic groove, care been taken to avoid twisting or pulling the Micro-tube Strength Member. Corners are negotiated with a bending radius of at least 1 meter.

The Metallic or Plastic Tray, which is grounded, is resealed with a sealant, marked and covered after the necessary checks are made by the Fiber Optic splicer to ensure end-to-end connectivity of the Fiber Optic Cable.

All in all, these Fiber Optic Cables are as vulnerable as the ones in Caymanas Park that got cut on Wednesday January 8th 2014 as explained in my blog article entitled “Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case” and for which I’ve yet to hear a resolution.

Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Launchpad for 4G LTE, Frame Relay, FTTH and Cloud Based PBX Services

Once it's connected to the Fiber Optic Termination Cabinets at each Cell Site as well as back at the New Fiber Optic Switch at Telecom Provider Digicel's MSC (Mobile Switching Center), the BER (Bit Error Rates) will be checked and the Fiber Optic Network will be ready for Testing with the 4G LTE Switch.

Telecom Provider Digicel's intent is that this Network is to provide the following Functionalities:

1.      Backhaul for Digicel's 4G LTE Network
2.      Connectivity for ICT (Internet and Computer Technology) Services
3.      Launchpad for the Frame Relay and FTTH Broadband Services

This is the Frame Relay and FTTH Broadband Services I mentioned above, many of which are used by Call Centers, who, by virtue of the nature of their business, will be in need of these services mentioned earlier.

Telecom Provider Digicel Fiber Optic Network will be an investment well worth it and it’ll put them in a good position to achieve 25% of total Revenue coming from ICT and Data Services by the Fourth Quarter of 2015 as predicted in my blog article entitled “Digicel to invest US$85 million in 4G LTE Network - 25% of Total revenue from ICT as 4G LTE Investments designed to weather the coming Summer WhatsApp Storm”.

Stay tuned to my blog as this exciting development is installed, mile by mile!

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