Bermuda: Business Environment
Internet and E-Commerce Facilities
The main telecoms providers in Bermuda have opened e-commerce support centres which provide hosting services.
TeleBermuda International opened its centre in December, 1999. The TBI centre is staffed 24/7, and provides secure website hosting services for companies wanting to conduct e-commerce from Bermuda; Cable & Wireless shortly afterwards opened its sixth world-wide 'platform' offering web-hosting, e-commerce and other Internet services in Devonshire, Bermuda - the other five centres are in London, Washington, Bahrein, Sydney and Hong Kong.
There are a number of other local Internet Service Providers offering varying levels of support to offshore businesses. 'Partial hosting' involves the provision of payment pages on secure facilities in Bermuda, saving the expense of purchasing and maintaining a secure server, routers, firewalls, and transaction gateway. 'Total hosting' involves the supply of secure facilities to co-locate a client’s own technology solutions, or provision of a complete e-commerce package including access to the Internet and transaction processing. Local providers can also assist with the procurement, importation, and installation of client hardware.
Several of the e-commerce service providers rent “electronic stores” to allow digital businesses to operate from Bermuda without incorporating a company on the island. Each “electronic store” has separate assets and liabilities, as well as separate bank accounts, and must operate under the terms of a user agreement.
Long-distance call costs in Bermuda have fallen substantially in recent years.
The Bermuda government is also in the process of fully implementing a new regime for Internet telephony and broad-band services.
In April 2007, Cable & Wireless Bermuda Limited announced a US$22 million investment in a next generation fibre optic cable and associated infrastructure over two years, which promises to enhance the telecoms services it provides to Bermuda's international business community. The investment includes a new 800-mile long cable linking Bermuda to the United States. The cable, which was due to be operational in October 2007, has 700 times more capacity than the PTAT-1 cable it replaces and will provide Cable & Wireless Bermuda and Quantum Communications Limited customers access to the Cable & Wireless global network.
"The new undersea cable will satisfy the growing demand for diverse, reliable high-speed data and broadband services, which cannot be provided by the restricted capacity of the current cable," commented Eddie Saints, Chief Executive of Cable & Wireless Bermuda during the Bermuda International Business Association annual forum in London.
"This investment will also enable us to provide direct international access to all three diverse fibre optic cable systems serving Bermuda from our Teleport facility in Devonshire parish on Main Island, benefiting Bermuda's international business and residential community," he added.
According to a 2008 study the overall adoption rate of Internet services in Bermuda continues to be high. According to a 2009 report, the overall adoption rate of telecommunication devices in Bermuda continues to be high.
All firms have internet access with a high-speed connection, however T1 lines or greater accounted for just 24%. 58% of employees are considered to be competent or skilled at using computers, up 5% from 2007. Corporate cell phone and mobile device ownership continued to show an increase from 75% in 2007, to 85% in 2008 and 87% in 2009. Companies tended to own more mobile devices in 2009, from 63% in 2008 to 78%.
90% of Bermudan households own a computer. The vast majority (89%) of households access the internet, and similar to the last two year’s results, out of those that have internet access 85% have a high speed internet connection (DSL, Cable or wireless). In 2009, 94% of Bermudan households own a cell phone and this year, residents owned a larger proportion of mobile devices such as BlackBerries, increasing from 16% in 2007 to 32% in 2008, 34% in 2009 and 76% in 2010.
Regarding residents’ online habits, consistent with 2008, the most regularly used online activities include using search engines, looking for travel information, and researching products or services and online shopping.