The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is considering a partnership with Aliv that would allow both companies to share towers instead of each erecting “a bunch of towers” on their own, BTC Chief Executive Officer Garfield “Garry” Sinclair said yesterday.
During his briefing at the daily National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) press conference, Sinclair explained that both companies are hoping to reduce the amount of towers they need to replace on Abaco as they rebuild their networks following the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
“When we rebuild, one of the things we hope to be able to do is partner with our Aliv competitors. We have shown a tremendous amount of cooperation so far [on the national roaming plan],” Sinclair said.
“We’re hoping to do that as well with the rebuild effort, especially in Abaco, where rather than each of us putting up a bunch of towers, we’re going to be able to co-locate wherever that is going to be possible, in order to reduce the need for each of us to put up as many towers.”
Aliv and BTC came together this week to implement a national roaming plan that would allow their customers to roam on both companies’ networks without either company charging the other a fee.
The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) gave both companies until today to sign a national roaming plan agreement.
Sinclair said on Wednesday that BTC was pushing for a 30-day national roaming deal.
Yesterday, Sinclair also revealed that BTC had restored mobile service to Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point in Abaco.
He said the company has deployed cell-on-wheels, or mobile towers, in Marsh Harbour to bring service back to the people left in those communities.
Chief Aliv Officer Damian Blackburn, who also spoke at the NEMA press briefing, explained that Aliv now “has coverage on both Grand Bahama and Abaco, with LTE and 3G service covering 80 percent of where the population lives and works”.
“This has been an incredible effort by the Aliv team and the Cable Bahamas team,” Blackburn said.
He added that the company has imported 80,000 pounds of network equipment to the Dorian-affected islands and explained that on Grand Bahama there is coverage in the entire West End, while the company switched on a site at Treasure Cay yesterday. He added that Cooper’s Town and Blackwood should be on today.
“Then we will start on the cays,” said Blackburn.