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PRESS RELEASE – Recently, it was announced that Cable and Wireless (CWC) and Columbus Communications will be merging into one entity, pending governing bodies and regulators’ approval.
Despite the pro-competitive nature of this deal, as well as the array of opportunities it creates for innovation, employment and infrastructural development, there has been some suggestions that this new hybrid telecommunications company endangers the current state of progress; that it will lead to a less dynamic market and that consumers will be adversely affected in the forms of high prices and poor service.
However, while uncertainty is natural (we are, after all, still in the infancy stage of our market’s liberalization), sensationalists have dramatized misinformation that warns of threats where, in actuality, exist opportunities.
These opportunities are not, however, intended to merely benefit the two companies; this is a merger, not an acquisition with the aim of creating the best of breed.
Through the resultant accelerated growth strategy for delivering broadband, mobile, fixed and premium TV content, this merger presents our region with the best chance to create a 21st century telecom operator to bring our region on par with the likes of Europe and North America.
Moreover, with a faster, better delivery of mobile, fixed, broadband and TV services and quad play, the merger is a better value for the consumer and the country.
Perhaps the largest concern has been the worry surrounding competition. In truth, however, CWC and Columbus will finally be better equipped to compete with the larger competitor – the region’s dominant player, whose size affords it a lower cost base and thus positively sways its economies of scale.
The increased value of CWC and Columbus’ product and services offerings – which are now higher than the larger competitor – will force the giant to adopt a more competitive attitude. The result: a more balanced and energized market; the “gold rush” of the digital age.
This stimulated development, in turn, supports the governments’ and region’s information and communication technology (ICT) agenda to improve connectivity, deliver e-government initiatives, and work more efficiently towards the ever-present goals of regional broadband access and ubiquity.
These infrastructural improvements can help create the envisaged Silicon Islands, along with its associated jobs and societal benefits; indeed, an IDB Study shows, in the Caribbean, a 10% increase in broadband penetration creates 67,016 jobs an increase of 3.19% of GDP and a 2.61% productivity increase. Let us also not forget that strong employers, not weak ones, best serve their people.
Together, CWC and Columbus will bring skills, knowledge and best practices to the region. By consolidating its strengths and learning from each other’s weaknesses, the new company will enhance the current state of broadband and mobile technologies in our region and continue to invest heavily in the welfare of the communities it serves. Most importantly, the company will always listen and act to dispel any fears its customers and stakeholders may have.