Falklands : FIRS Goes One to One With Justin McPhee (03/08/11)
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 07.08.2011 (Article Archived on 21.08.2011)
On the programme today I will be speaking to Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd., Justin McPhee (JMP).
STACEY BRAGGER GOES ONE TO ONE WITH JUSTIN McPHEE 03/08/11
A Report for FIRS by Stacey Bragger (SB)
SB: On the programme today I will be speaking to Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd., Justin McPhee (JMP). The Company over the past few weeks announced a number of developments. Today Justin will be telling me more about the changes. We begin today with the recently introduced free night-time broadband use trial, which Justin says has been very popular so far.
JMP: I think it has been a success with a significant number of customers taking advantage of the free window.. Weíve seen a large increase in traffic but the system is coping fine. And we are seeing people use it to update their PCs, download software, outside their normal package limit. Infact. Some customers have actually exceeded their normal monthly package in the first two nights.
SB: So with that massive usage, has the system gone into melt-down?
JMP: No, it hasnít. We are very conscious of that and will continue to monitor carefully. At the moment the systemís coping absolutely fine with the extra load on it.
SB: So if people were to go on for the next couple of months using massive amounts of data would you still think about using it in the future?
JMP: Yes certainly. We have done it as a three-monthsí trial initially but we are keen to extend it further but that would depend on the on-going discussions with Government as to the outcome of that. Certainly we think itís a benefit to all our customers.
SB: So if someone just wanted to go on and check their e-mail they would still be able to do that?
JMP: Yes they will. We will continue to monitor that carefully and make sure the system can cope with the extra demand on it at the moment.
SB: And it was also announced that you were going to be expanding the mobile coverage around the Islands. Can you just explain whatís going to be happening with that?
JMP: Thatís right, Stacey. There are actually two parts to it and both are quite exciting. We are upgrading the existing networks for mobile data so people can access the internet from their phones. We are also significantly increasing the coverage with the installation of six new mobile sites around the Islands.
SB: Where are they going to be based?
JMP: They are going to be spread well around. There is an additional site going in on the opposite side of Stanley Harbour so that will improve known coverage issues that we have in Stanley. We know that East Stanley has a bit of a blind spot for mobile so that site will pick up the entire Stanley area and improve coverage at Stanley Airport and also give coverage out into Port William. We are also putting a site on Sussex Mountains out towards San Carlos which will cover more of the road network out past Goose Green and also cover down the road toward New Haven and will work on the ferry across most of the Sound as well as giving coverage in the San Carlos area.
Staying on the East weíve got a site down at Malo Hills, which will cover all the Estancia, Berkley Sound and out as far as Johnsonís Harbour into North Camp.
And then on West Falkland we are installing a small micro bay station at Port Howard and Fox Bay, which give you up to 10 KM of coverage in the area. That will depend on its geography. So both those sites on the West will get mobile coverage for the first time.
And the last place I will mention is that we are going to put coverage in at Mare Harbour, which presently, due to the geography around Mount Pleasant, isnít covered by the existing network. And obviously itís heavily used as a port that has recently proposed as a site for a deep water port. So we felt putting additional coverage in that area was important.
SB: And you are hoping to have this in by Christmas?
JMP: Itís quite a complicated and intensive project. We are liaising with our suppliers at the moment but the expectation is to have all this in place by Christmas.
SB: I guess it is a natural progression but it must be quite nice for Cable & Wireless to be able to do this?
JMP: Yes. Itís part of our commitment to the Islands. We are obviously a technology company and itís our role here and itís key that we continue to offer new services. We have been talking to all of our customers and getting all the feedback regularly as people will be aware. So we continue to invest in the Islands to provide more modern services..
SB: With people being able to access the internet with their mobiles in the future Ė is that something that customers have been saying to you that they want you to do?
JMP: Certainly from the feedback we got from our customers, a number of them have been keen on pushing mail services. Some of the younger members of the community are keen on the fact they will be able to update facebook and twitter and social networking sites from their mobile. So again, itís a natural progression. We installed a basic ď2G NetworkĒ five years ago. This is now going to be a network that is technically 2 and 3 Quarter G but does add all the MRS inter-messaging available on your phone that are available elsewhere.
SB: how would that work with Billing? Would it go straight on to the mobile or go to the home account or
JMP: We are still working out the details of the packages. We will update customers but we are expecting to offer a pay as you go service where you simply pay as you use it. We are still sorting out the detail of the associated packages. And we will continue to update customers as that information is available.
SB: With mobile phones you will have to have up to date phones to get access to that.
JMP: To make use of the full features a lot of people are now moving to smart phones but even fairly basic phones, given that the actual network will support internet have basic web functionality on them. You donít necessarily need a high end phone to benefit from that. Certainly itís a service people have been asking for so we are now in a position where we can deliver that.
SB: Also you mentioned before that the bandwidth is being extended. Can you tell me about what is happening with that?
JMC: We are doing an upgrade in our earth station. We have ordered new equipment which should be here in September. And that will lead to a 25% increase in the bandwidth that we currently have coming into the Islands. So you will see an increase in the current 20megabits per second to 25 megabits per second.
SB: Cable & Wireless are continually involved in discussions with Government? Are they still progressing?
JMC: Very slowly. I think itís certainly not progressed at the speed we would like. There are on-going discussions with the Government. Obviously there has been some public consultation about V-Sat and that for services but clearly we canít wait for Government to come to an agreement with us so thatís why we are continuing to improve the service where we can and also invest new money in providing new services.
SB: I would like to thank Justin McPhee for speaking with me on todayís programme.
(100X Transcription Service)