Telecoms liberalisation offers ‘more technology for less’
– local services providers
Local service providers continue to applaud the PPP/C Government’s liberalisation of the telecommunications sector, with several noting that they intend to expand their services.
Mr. Safraz Sheriffudeen, Chief Executive Officer of VNet Communications told the Department of Public Information that liberalising the sector is exactly what is needed for businesses like his to develop.
“Now we can concentrate on major expansion and fill the gaps where you don’t have local infrastructure and that is what … we can really look forward to build and ensure that every single person, especially now, has ways and means to communicate,” he said. The CEO added he wants “To bring a bit more to Guyana, offer more, and grow and as a local company, we now have an opportunity to step out and carve our own path, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
VNet Communications specialises in satellite-based communication including satellite internet, satellite phones and VIO [Visual Inertial Odometry] tracking service for local and global coverage. The company’s services also reach Barima-Waini (Region One), Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).
Mr. Sheriffudeen said his company will provide internet services in areas that do not have any coverage and lack the basic infrastructure.
“We want to ensure that regardless of where you operate from whether it be a leisure trip, whether it be an outdoor trip or you are living in rural Guyana that you are still connected,” he explained.
From the consumer’s perspective, he said, liberalisation will allow them to get “more technology for less.” Further, it will attract more investment and more services will become available in Guyana as in other parts of the world.
Mr. Sheriffudeen said that there are great prospects for Guyanese companies, as long as there is a level playing field.
“Our companies are 100 per cent Guyanese. We employ Guyanese, develop the training for Guyanese, and we build our own product based on our culture, so I’m really looking forward to be able to show that we can do these things,” he said.
Mr. Navindra Narine of Broadband Wireless LLC shared a similar perspective. One of his main challenges, he said, was the lack of an affordable connection to the ‘backbone’ fibre-optic cable. E Networks and Guyana Telephone and Telegraph each have but the cost at which they were selling it was prohibitive, he said.
“The good thing about this [liberalisation] is that it will create competition which will benefit the consumer. Prices will decrease. Americans can call Guyana at a lesser rate,” he said.
Mr. Narine hopes to offer satellite internet, wireless internet and possibly landline services to his customers. He said he already has the necessary plans and investors to forge ahead with his business.