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September 11, 2009

Jamaica Offers Most Robust Broadband in the Caribbean

From Signals Telecom Consulting:

The price gap between Cable Modem and other technologies continues to increase throughout the Caribbean. While on the 1Q08 Cable Modem rates were just 5% cheaper expensive than DSL, by 2Q09 the difference widened making Cable Modem rates 44% and 65% cheaper than DSL and fixed wireless broadband connections respectively.

Buenos Aires - September 9, 2009 - Signals Telecom Consulting, the leading telecommunications research and consulting firm for markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, presents the Fifth Edition of its market survey "Comparative Analysis of Broadband Rates in the Caribbean." This study forms part of a research program that also covers South and Central America, and analyzes the pricing strategy of 58 broadband operators in 25 markets in the Caribbean Basin and Bermuda.

The increase in UMTS/HSPA networks has yet to make a major impact on the offering of wireless broadband access by means of other technologies such as WiMAX mostly due to the limited amount of 3G networks throughout the Caribbean. "The eventual deployment and commercial launch of UMTS/HSPA services will increase the competitive pressure on WiMAX providers to reinforce their fixed wireless broadband offer by means of lower prices and faster transmission speeds", declared Juan Gnius, Vice President of Signals Telecom Consulting and co-author of the study.

Signals Telecom Consulting periodically surveys the broadband offering in order to track any changes on broadband speeds, rates, technologies used, and number of service providers, among others. "The results of the last survey conducted during the 2Q09 are available through the acquisition of Signals' Comparative Analysis of Broadband Rates in the Caribbean 5th Edition market report", explains Jose F. Otero, President of Signals Telecom Consulting and co-author of the study.

Key findings from the report include the following:

* Average installation price for a broadband connection during the 1Q08 - excluding seasonal promotions - was US$ 99.27. By 2Q09, the average broadband installation charge per technology was US$ 65.02 for Cable Modem, US$ 84.44 for DSL, and US$ 111.09 for fixed wireless.

* Jamaica exhibits a high segmentation of its broadband offer when compared to other Caribbean markets. As of 2Q09, downlinks data transfer speeds available from local providers included: 384 Kbps, 512 Kbps, 768 Kbps, 1 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 3 Mbps, 4 Mbps, 6 Mbps, 8 Mbps, and 15 Mbps.

* Although geographically not located in the Caribbean, Bermuda with a population of approximately 70,000 inhabitants has eight (8) fixed broadband service providers a higher number than most other markets in the region.

* The highest monthly rates for 1 Mbps downlink connections were provided by Guyana's Broadband Wireless (US$ 400), Belize's BTL (US$ 170.98), and Bonaire's Flamingo TV (US$ 54.29).

* The cheapest 1 Mbps downlink connection provided by LIME (Cable & Wireless) is found in Jamaica with a US$ 29.95 monthly fee and for 2Mbps in Grenada for US$ 26.34. On the other hand, LIME highest rate for this downlink speed - US$ 49 monthly fee - is found in both the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands and for 2 Mbps in the Turks & Caicos for US$ 79 monthly fee.

* The lack of international data traffic gateways continue to contribute for the high broadband rates of providers as Suriname's Telesur charging US$ 183 per month for a 512 Kbps DSL connection and in Guyana GT&T charged US$ 169.34 for the same type of connection while Broadband Wireless' charged monthly fee of US$ 200 for a fixed wireless connection of 512 Kbps.

* Flow Jamaica offers the faster residential downlink speed: 15 Mbps for US$ 37.22