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Internet service in SVG overpriced, underpowered – Senator Gonsalves

Internet service in SVG overpriced, underpowered – Senator Gonsalves

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The broadband Internet service available in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been described as overpriced and underpowered.{{more}}

The observation has been made by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs Senator Camillo Gonsalves.

Gonsalves, speaking on Friday, September 27, at the launch of Invest SVG’s 10th anniversary exhibition at the old Public Library on Granby Street, said that broadband Internet services are important when trying to attract Foreign Direct Investments; hence there is a need for an improvement in the services offered by the local providers.

While Gonsalves did not state the names of the providers, it is common knowledge the local providers are LIME and Karib Cable.

The newly appointed senator said that further enhancement of our broadband and its capabilities are important for infrastructural development.

Giving figures, he said that locally, the fastest Internet speed is 4.4 megabits per second (mbps) for EC$300, while the same EC$300 is paid for 8.8 mbps in Grenada and 12 mbps in St Lucia.

“So, if you are an Information Technology firm looking to invest, why would you constrain yourself with a lower bandwidth for more money, when you could go 100 miles north or south and get a better deal?”, asked Gonsalves who stressed that these points were not an attack on the providers, but an example of improvements that should be made.

“The broadband Internet available to some users in SVG is overpriced and underpowered relative to our neighbours… I am not at war, but look at data relative to our neighbours, we pay more for less”, said the senator, who added that this is an impediment to a host of investment opportunities, particularly in high tech sectors.

“The conduct of our existing foreign investors should not be an impediment to future investment, particularly if their own narrow business interests are motivating them to act in an inconsistent manner across the region”, said Senator Gonsalves, who opined that if an investor has to choose between SVG and neighbouring St Lucia or Grenada in relation to Internet, they will chose the competitors.

The senator pointed out that Invest SVG has a role to play in monitoring these cross regional developments and advising the state of the major infrastructural impediments to investments.

“We hope that Invest SVG can point us to some of the impediments that we are facing, so that the state, in tandem with Invest SVG, can find ways to alleviate these sort of discrepancies”, said Gonsalves.

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