Telem group: A proud driver of innovation for Country St. Maarten

TelEm Group joins sister telecommunication companies all over the world this Sunday in celebration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2015.

The day, May 17th, is designated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the day for telecommunication companies globally to focus public attention and awareness on the possibilities and use of the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve local communities, societies and economies.

According to TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel, the anniversary year and theme: Drivers of Innovation was named to reflect on the many milestones the ITU has reached during the past 150 years. She notes that in the case of TelEm Group, this day will be used to reflect on the milestones of the company and the fact that the company has been a driver and innovator of Telecommunications in Sint Maarten , and in the process, is helping to improve the quality of life on the island.

Mrs. Etnel points to the many developments over the years what continues to give cause of celebration by management and personnel on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2015.

She said in the mobile sector, sister company TelCell wasone of the first to bring digital mobile to St. Maarten and was instrumental in cutting mobile fees by doing away with calling party pays tariffs. TelCell was also one of the first mobile company in the region to initiate roaming contracts. Other mobile developments followed with the introduction of 2G and 3G technologies including vastly improved data packages, and the company is now actively working on the development of the next evolution in mobile voice and data technology, LTE/4G.

In the area of fixed telephony, TelEm Group has made major invemtments in a fibre backbone and for many years also implemented complete VOIP technology solutions on the fixed lines.

In the field of internet, TelEm Group is providing the fastest internet speeds to residential and business clients.

Sister company SMITCOMS, provided St. Maarten with the island’s first undersea fibre optic cable From Sint Maarten to Puerto Rico , SMPR1 at a considerable investment several years ago to create a new level of connectivity with the outside world ,and now with the creation of a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) infrastructure, TelEm Group is becoming all the more ambitious.

Mrs. Etnel points to three Fiber to the Home pilot projects currently under way in Hamster Drive, and St. John’s Estate, as an indication of just how serious TelEm Group is about taking the island’s telecommunication infrastructure to a whole new level.

The projects entail running super efficient fiber cables underground and connecting them to residential homes and businesses to provide a new range of new products and services for customers.

“We are talking about the importance of broadband telecommunication infrastructures to provide for :
HD video streaming and Television, Tele-medicine, new ICT business development,  home and public security and surveillance systems, entertainment, video on demand , interactive online classes where students can, not only watch their professors but also participate in real-time, video-based discussions, 3-D videoconferencing, Virtual environments, Online gaming and many other services,” continued the TelEm Group executive.

She said the superior reliability of FTTH and vastly superior upstream capacity leads the company to believe that a new period of innovation for St. Maarten will be the ultimate result of the new fledgling infrastructure  that can be applied in various ways including:

She says development will continue with the assistance and cooperation of strong partners such as GEBE, more recently the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (where TelEm Group is providing free internet to fuel the chamber’s new business center), two years ago, the company’s partnership with the University of St. Maarten, providing transport for online tutoring, and last year internet to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library for the establishment’s computer lab. TelEm Group already provides free high-speed internet to public schools throughout St. Maarten.

“The potential for creating new jobs, opening call centers and developing e-commerce is endless and fully supports the diverse community and many spoken languages that St. Maarten has to offer additionally as a regional telecommunication and communication hub,” continued Mrs. Etnel.

She is confident that while Fiber to the Home is only one component of an overall development strategy for St. Maarten, it is nevertheless a vitally important one that TelEm Group must drive.

TelEm Group says it has seen how the fixed landline phones have declined in preference to mobile handsets. We are seeing a similar pattern developing where current DSL speeds over copper lines will no longer provide sufficient bandwidth to meet the demands for new products and services, such as ROKU, NETFLIX and other IPTV offerings that can be better provided by fiber, underlining the importance of  FTTH application for the company and also for customers and the St. Maarten economy.

On the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, Sunday, TelEm Group took the opportunity to wish all personnel, workers in the Telecommunication sector, and the general public, all the best wishes for the future.

“Telecommunications plays such an important part in our modern-day lives and we are very proud that we have been able to and that we can continue to drive the types of telecommunication innovations on St. Maarten that will ensure the Island can maintain its competitive edge in the region.

“While we may lag a little behind in some areas, we are nevertheless most proud of the fact that despite our small size, limited volume and consequently long return on investments, that we are still able to provide St. Maarten with a solid telecommunication infrastructure that can stand its own against the best systems in the world, and most of all, that it goes a long way towards improving the quality of life on communities and societies in St. Maarten today,” TelEm Group states.