TelEm Group Hosting Wholesale Telecoms Conference for Third Consecutive Year

Pond Island – Developments in the Caribbean wholesale telecommunications market will be the topic of discussion at the Capacity 2011 conference which kicks off at the Westin Resort & Spa next week. Delegates to Capacity 2011 start arriving on the island this weekend to begin two days of panel discussions, workshops and contact meetings from February 8th – 9th. 

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The annual event is once again being sponsored by TelEm Group, whose Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Mr. Eldert Louisa, is on the feature panel: Growth, change and competition in the Caribbean wholesale market. According to Mr. Louisa, the significance of St. Maarten as the host country for this important telecommunication event is demonstrated by the fact that this is the third year in a row that members have chosen to have their conference meeting on St. Maarten. "The level of discussion is very high and the opportunity to meet with colleagues and companies from various parts of the world is unmatched, not to mention all that the island has to offer as one of the top destinations in the region," said Mr. Louisa. He said of special concern this year will be new technologies on the market, especially the bandwidth-hungry technologies that are driving the need for more and more bandwidth and lease line services as well as a need for alternative redundancy routes to ensure continuity of services. "The fact that we have been recognized by our telecommunication partners as being in a unique strategic position in this part of the North Eastern Caribbean makes it easier for us to make our case this year for more business contacts and the selling of capacity on our undersea cable, SMPR-1," said Mr. Louisa. In his view, St. Maarten’s SMPR-1 connection with Puerto Rico, provides reliable alternative and redundant routes for many telecommunication providers in the Caribbean, Central and Latin America seeking to connect their existing cable systems with U.S. Cable systems. The core of St. Maarten’s international telecommunication backbone is provided by Smitcoms N.V. via the company’s fully owned SMPR-1 fiber optic cable, which facilitates high quality, reliable connectivity between various POP’s in Miami, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Curacao. Through this network TelEm Group offers dedicated capacity, IP based services and also functions as a regional Internet hub and gateway. Mr. Louisa says TelEm Group and associated company Smitcoms N.V. have combined resources to develop the Open Caribbean Internet Exchange (OCIX) whereby various telecommunication players can sign up for a free entry into the Caribbean telecommunication market via an exchange ‘hub" located on St. Maarten. "We will be aggressively promoting OCIX and its benefits to our partners in the telecommunication market, both locally and internationally," said Mr. Louisa. The promotion of OCIX as a local hub is especially important to Mr. Louisa and St. Maarten because of the island’s high-profile as a top Caribbean destination. "We are a very cosmopolitan island with millions of visitors coming here each year. Most are used to and demand high-tech low cost telecommunication services comparable to what they are used to back home, and it is our job to provide that," said Mr. Louisa. He said an important part in meeting these and local expectations is the ability to bring content closer to St. Maarten, first to serve the local customer base via OCIX, and then to provide services to the rest of the region as a telecommunication hub. The TelEm Group CTO will be discussing these strategies further with participants to Capacity 2011 during the two days of discussions and workshops starting Tuesday. Capacity Conference organizers are expecting a great turnout once again and direct attention to a number of key highlights that will be the talking point this year, including:

· Spotlights on existing and emerging services and technologies.

· Developments and opportunities in key growth markets.

· Investing in international connectivity.

· Regulatory issues and promoting fair market practice.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Group Chief Technical Officer, Digicel, Mr. Mario Assad. There will also be an official welcome to delegates by TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel. Other speakers will include executives of such distinguished companies as: LIME, FLOW, Columbus Networks, Global Caribbean Network, Scarlet, Blue Communications, Bermuda Cablevision and many others. As hosts, TelEm Group has planned a warm welcome for returning Capacity Conference members and also new members who will be coming for the first time. The Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Louisa has meantime thanked local coordinating team members, Angel Lacroes, Alice Peterson and Nataska Charles for all their efforts in once again preparing for an unforgettable conference experience for all those who will be attending.