BES fixed services lag behind mobile

SEO Amsterdam Economics at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Economics conducted a study on the telecom and TV market in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES). The three islands have the status of special overseas municipalities known as the Caribbean Netherlands and fall under the realm of Dutch regulators “Agentschap Telecom” and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), as well as under the Ministry.

The rate of services on Saba and St. Eustatius has greatly improved since the Dutch Government deployed fibre on the two islands. Since then, a minimum of 1 Mbps [megabits per second – Ed.] is available everywhere, close to the UN target of 1.5 Mbps, but providers complain about cable rates.

The services market remains highly concentrated, with only one or two service providers. Businesses say the relationship between price and quality is unfavourable, especially for fixed services.

On Bonaire, competition has increased since the last survey was taken in 2011, going now to three providers of mobile telephony, one of fixed telephony, two providers of fixed Internet and three providers of TV services. The latest entrant on the market for mobile telephony (Telbo/Kla, the only one with Long-Term Evolution (LTE)) has been able to quickly gain market share, amid a growing population.

Users say they are not satisfied with the provision of fixed services. Data caps on the fixed network are gone, but a 5 Mbps connection totals US $53.50 (Flamingo) or US $75.95 (Telbo) per month. A 20 Mbps link totals US $125.95 at Telbo and US $321.75 at Flamingo.

SEO noted that Bonaire is an island with a small population, which makes the cost per connection higher than in the Netherlands.

Looking ahead, SEO concluded that the demand for services continues to grow. On Bonaire, Telbo is now rolling out fibre. On the other two islands, 4G is being developed.

The Daily Herald.

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