Digicel expands WiMax service

After a successful three-month WiMax pilot programme in Cayman, Digicel announced last week it would roll out the service in other Caribbean countries, including Barbados and Jamaica.

Digicel Cayman’s Head of Business Solutions John Byrne said the field trial here took place during July, August and September, a period of higher weather-related stress for a wireless network.

The network passed the test with flying colours, Mr. Byrne said.

‘After successfully testing the latest WiMax technologies in the field, we are moving forward with a broadband offering that can meet the needs of our customers,’ he said. ‘Our objective has been to develop a cost effective wireless broadband solution for voice and data that will drive our competitive advantage, and provide a superior product and customer focused network.’

WiMax, an acronym that stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave, is a wireless technology that provides broadband Internet connections over long distances.

It serves as an alternative to other Internet connection choices like DSL and cable, said Digicel Cayman CEO J.D. Buckley.

‘The current broadband offerings rely heavily on fixed lines making it expensive and limited in choice for Cayman consumers and businesses,’ he said. ‘The market conditions have provided Digicel Group with an opportunity to create competition by offering a better solution and lowering the cost to consumers.’

Mr. Byrne said there had already been a soft launch of the product in Cayman, and that there is already 100 per cent coverage on the island for businesses. By next February, it is expected there will be 100 per cent coverage for residents as well.

The hardware for WiMax is self-installed, similar to a plug-and-play device, Mr. Byrne said.

‘As a result, the lead time for installation significantly reduces,’ he said.

Mr. Byrne called the quality of the signal ‘fantastic.’ Each antenna has a 25km transmission radius, so it will not take many sites to thoroughly cover Grand Cayman.

‘Instead of having WiFi hot spots, the island itself becomes a WiFi hot spot,’ he said.

Although he could not give specifics about the prices, Mr. Byrne promised the cost of WiMax service would be very competitive.

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