Superyachts and visiting charter yachts in Antigua and Barbuda will benefit from a multi-billion programme to improve broadband and connectivity. The government of Antigua & Barbuda and Digicel are partnering on a collaborative project, involving significant investment from Digicel, that will provide yachts with faster broadband than in any yacht charter destination, almost anywhere else on earth!
This will make the small twin island state and popular superyacht cruising ground, the most technically advanced in the Caribbean and more advanced than all of Europe!
The Government-Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE) will include solutions for superyachts, which communications integrator e3 Systems is helping to implement. e3 Systems will advise on positioning the land mast location and the design of yacht specific service contracts.
Roger Horner, Group Managing Director of e3 Systems Group and Mark Smith, the manager of e3 Systems Antigua attended the launch presentation for the deployment of cutting-edge Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE).
The launch presentation, held in the Admiral Lord Nelson’s Ballroom at the Sandals Grande Resort, was given by Victor Corcoran, CEO of Digicel Antigua and Barbuda and the Honourable Dr Edmond A. Mansoor, Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science and Technology with remarks made by the Minister of Finance the Honourable Harold E Lovell and the Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Baldwin Spencer.
Currently Ericsson is installing the new technology around the island. There will be a mast that provides excellent, dedicated, coverage to the whole of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour including Turtle Bay and surrounding areas. The Government has made the coverage for yachting, resorts and hotels an important feature in their strategy.
4G is wireless broadband received by using a USB pen drive attached to your laptop or via a 4G router incorporating a wireless access point.
Every yacht, sail or motor of any size will be able to have access to a real world speed of 10 Mbps enabling a new world of video calling, streaming, and data transfer that in the past has only be available to the extremely large yachts using VSAT at enormous expense.
4G LTE is a version of 4G that has been adopted in the USA by AT&T and Verizon as their technology of choice and is 3 to 4 times faster than other implementations of 4G. It is hundreds of times faster than 3G.
The plan is for 85% coverage in the first phase with coverage continuing to improve to a full 100% coverage based on demand. All the yachting areas will be covered in the first phase.
The planning and development of 4G LTE in Antigua has been of major interest to e3 Systems as they are a specialist communications integrator for yachts and they have an office in Antigua.
“Our involvement with Digicel and the Government starts with advice on the location of the mast to make sure the service covers all the locations needed. We are also designing the service contract specifically for yachts, based on our experience of what yachts need, demand and use. The contracts will be very different to the land based contracts. Primarily they will only be for the length of the yachting season.
The Digicel service will roam on the Digicel networks of the other islands but only on HSPA+ service levels. HSPA+ service is effectively a super 3G service and will not have the performance that 4G LTE has in Antigua.”
“We plan to eliminate the chance of “Bill Shock” by offering roaming for an inexpensive fixed fee on the other Digicel networks during the winter yachting season of 2012 to 2013. Roaming will be limited to about ten other islands but this will be extended as the HSPA+ technology gets installed around the other islands. Currently there are no plans to install 4G LTE in any of the other islands in the Caribbean.”
Antigua has always been popular as a great place to come and enjoy a luxury yacht charter boasting safe anchorages, the best yacht services and friendly people but now it will be the ONLY place to base and run a yacht from during the winter yachting Caribbean season.
We will announce details of the developments and more contract details as they happen over the next months starting at the Monaco Yacht Show and with a big launch together with Digicel and the Antigua and Barbuda Government at the 51st Antigua Charter Show in early December.
Data Contracts will be available from all e3 offices and e3 Partners together with routers and USB pen drives.