By STAFF WRITER
Guardian Business Desk
The deputy chairman of a high tech start-up in The Bahamas weighed in on the planned sale of a 51 percent stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC), predicting that CWC’s know-how in broadband would strengthen BTC’s online services and build a part of the business that has yet to reach its full potential.
Brian Quinn, the deputy chairman of IP Solutions International(IPSI)and the former CEO of what is now Reuters TV, said the Bahamian government had”few options open to it”when it selected CWC because of the”small size of the market, limited growth potential, and BTC’s intermediate technology and current reliance on its mainstream wireless business.”
Those conditions, coupled with BTC’s valuation of under$0.25 billion, ruled out attracting a major finance house with telecom experience, said Quinn. Without a financial powerhouse behind it to drive a changing BTC and prepare it for competition when the market opens to other providers in two to three years, the company needed an operator with solid experience and the agility to move quickly as technology changes.
“For BTC to rapidly upgrade its delivery technology, it requires another more advanced operator to come in to make that change,”said Quinn, who has served as chairman of several international companies including BrightStar when it was the world’s largest wideband satellite carrier.”The new route to consumers’pockets is via fast broadband making a host of new services available. This scene is changing rapidly and technology which effectively disrupts what was in vogue yesterday is now becoming commonplace. This means being fleet of foot and though BTC might enter this market in the future, it will be difficult to do while at the same time radically overhauling its mainstream wireless business. However, C&W is highly knowledgeable of this market and clearly sees a future for BTC.”
As the immediate past director general of the International Institute of Communications, Quinn is a sought-after speaker at international conferences. He is also a long-time resident of The Bahamas and one of the most respected voices in the international telecommunications industry.
Quinn’s comments followedcriticisms of BTC by the CEO of a software development company looking to enter the mobile application market.
CEO of Dreamsoft Studios Onan Bridgewater said BTC’s lack of a modern infrastructure is hindering the growth of a”smartphone”market in The Bahamas, and steps should be taken to improve that infrastructure on par with other countries.
“The GPRS services in our country are slow,”Bridgewater said.”And when you’re looking at developing something for the Caribbean you have to really think about what we have and what’s out there as well.”