Chief Executive Officer of Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) André Foster yesterday defended his company’s marked improvement in service delivery on both the fixed and mobile sides, after Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service Fred Mitchell publicly criticized the performance of the telecommunications companies.
During an appearance on Guardian Radio talk show “The Political Review” on Sunday, Mitchell said the Progressive Liberal Party is “dissatisfied” with the state of the digital platforms and infrastructure in The Bahamas.
“We think that the telephone companies have not done an adequate job in supporting the infrastructure right now,” said Mitchell.
“Calls are dropping, there’s overcrowding, the quality of the sound is poor, but it appears that the companies are interested in selling cell phones as opposed to investing in infrastructure.”
Mitchell said his party has talked about installing a public fiber optic network to get the country to 5G capacity “as quickly as possible”.
Foster said BTC has invested heavily in its own fiber network, which it continues to expand across the archipelago.
“We continue to monitor network quality to make sure that we don’t have dropped calls, especially on our mobile network,” said Foster.
“We continue to invest in our infrastructure to add more capacity where we had some issues. I’m pleased to say our network quality on the mobile side has improved significantly, as it has on the fixed side where we have deployed fiber to the home.”
On the 5G front, Foster said BTC has an implementation plan for it, but argued that in places where the population density is low, the upgrade is not much of a “game changer”.
Mitchell said in his remarks that a nationwide, public fiber optic initiative would likely take place via a public-private partnership model, with space rented on the network to earn revenue.