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Curaçao: E-Commerce

Introduction

Curaçao has a telecommunications infrastructure that is considered on par with US and European standards and includes modern digital switches, satellite link-ups, fiber optic cabling, worldwide direct telephone links and mobile networks.

In May, 2006, Digicel, the largest mobile telecommunications firm in the Caribbean, announced the launch of a revamped service on the Netherlands Antillean island of Curaçao.

Investment has been focused on expansion and upgrading of the network to Digicel’s "signature quality and reliability", as well as supporting a shared vision with the Curaçao management team to become the leading wireless telecommunications provider on the island.

The company entered the Curaçao market through its acquisition of Curaçao Telecom N.V. in 2005 and Digicel invested in excess of US$10 million in 2005 and 2006.

In July 2006, Digicel announced the launch of additional services in the jurisdiction. The underwater optic glass-fibre cable 'Americas II', running from North America via the Caribbean to South America became operational for Curaçao in October 2000. In February 2001 another cable with vastly more capacity made its landfall in Curaçao with the arrival of the cable-laying ship Manta during its deployment of the optic glass-fibre cable 'Arcos'. Arcos was the highest-capacity submarine cable yet laid, and was the first to be 'self-healing' in the event of physical damage.

Arcos has a capacity of 960 gigabits in comparison to the 25 gigabit capacity of Americas II. The cable connects Curaçao directly with several countries in South America, the Caribbean and Miami. The shareholders of Arcos decided to place their 'Network Operation Center' (NOC) on Curaçao, under the control of United Telecom Services (UTS), the local telecom holding company in Curaçao.

In February 2007, Global Crossing, the global IP solutions provider, announced that it was working with Global Caribbean Network (GCN), a subsea cable operator headquartered in Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies, to enhance global IP connectivity to the Caribbean region.

Under the terms of several agreements, GCN will interconnect its voice and data traffic services arriving from the Caribbean to Global Crossing's IP network in St. Croix, via 10-Gigabit wavelengths, enabling GCN to extend its services to North America, Europe and Asia. Primarily based in the Caribbean, GCN's customers thus gained access to Global Crossing's state-of-the-art global network, so that they can connect to any of the 600 cities in 60 countries where Global Crossing delivers services.

GCN began offering its commercial services in the Caribbean in October 2006 through the official launch of the first phase of its GCN-1 system, which connects Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, San Juan and St. Croix.

According to a 2006 Telecommunications Industry Review study, the Caribbean is one of the fastest growing broadband markets in the world. To accommodate this rapidly expanding demand in Latin America and the Caribbean region, Global Crossing announced that it will upgrade its Mid-Atlantic Crossing (MAC) system, which connects North America to Latin America through the Caribbean.

Global Caribbean Network (GCN) is a new cable operator in the Caribbean region. It is a subsidiary of Groupe Loret, one of the main players in the French West Indies and Guiana economies, with sales of EUR500 million (US$647 million) in 2005.

GCN has been awarded a Public Service Delegation contract by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe (FWI) to build and operate a new submarine cable linking Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, St.Croix, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy to the rest of the world.

Discussions and several initiatives regarding the set-up of an Internet exchange for the Caribbean region, e-commerce and e-zone led in March, 2009, to the launch of the CAR-IX (not-for-profit) Association and founded with financial support from The Netherland Antilles Bureau of Telecommunication and Post of the Netherlands Antilles. Founding members included UTS, Scarlet, Telbo, Digicel and EOCG Wireless. According to a 2010 flyer published by the Caribbean Internet Exchange, 'The CAR-IX platform has been designed and is operated by Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX). It provides continuous high quality full capacity peering services for Caribbean and South American networks that want to keep as much traffic local for network optimalisation and financial benefits.'

 

 

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