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BTC makes historical connection

The call was placed from one technician to another, but the recent 4G connection at the Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) is being seen as considerable milestone that will change how Bahamians use the telephone.

The important test at BTC has proven to be a success, Guardian Business has learned, paving the way for the much-anticipated release of the 4G network before Christmas.

“It establishes that the signalling and technical elements are in order,” Marlon Johnson, marketing manager at BTC, told Guardian Business.

“These networks are very complex and significant things have to happen for it to all come together. Our mission is to really make some noise this Christmas in a positive sort of way. When it comes to 4G, nobody can predict what will happen. We’re excited about what we know will happen, and just as excited about what we don’t know.”

Geoff Houston, the CEO of BTC, said The Bahamas “leapt light years ahead with a single call”, and described each test as a “100 percent success with no delays, no faults, just as smooth as can be”.

“For all the technicians who sweated through the exercise or those in management who had sleepless nights, your hard work has been rewarded,” he said in a statement.

“The future in telecommunications is here and it begins with this.”

Indeed, the successful testing has come as a source of relief for BTC, which will invest $45 million in the 4G network over the next two years.

Johnson told Guardian Business that although the milestone test worked, “thousands of tests between now and going commercial” must first take place. The executive stood firm on the Christmas release date, but could not provide a specific date for the release.

One task that will take up a lot of time at BTC is making adjustments to the tower masts in Grand Bahama and New Providence and installing new radios for the 4G system.

Meanwhile, Johnson added that the new flagship store at Mall at Marathon is “progressing well” and will also be ready ahead of Christmas. Hot sales are expected at BTC going forward, as the company seeks to “make some noise”.

He described the anticipation for the 4G network as creating a “pent-up demand” for the service and anticipated more Bahamians investing in smart phones in the future, especially as BTC seeks to release more packages and deals.

For the business community, Johnson explained it will make daily operations more efficient and give entrepreneurs and executives a greater ability to stay connected, download huge files and use applications.

“You will never look at your phone the same way again and we at BTC are really excited about it,” he said.

The residential customer will also benefit from the faster network, including better capacity for online gaming, faster streaming video, rapid downloading of music and improved web surfing.

“It will mean several generations ahead in our current experience,” Johnson added.

The anticipated launch of the 4G network before Christmas is seen as an important commitment made by Cable & Wireless Communications after it purchased 51 percent of the company last April.

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