Carib Connect is an agile telecoms network built on software foundations. It aims to bring consumer choice to the resilient Caribbean island of Montserrat, and develop models for rapid telecoms growth to be utilised in similarly infrastructure poor nations with larger populations – particularly those in Africa.
Montserrat was formerly an exporter of agriculture, electronic parts, clothing and plants, with an international reputation as a tourist getaway. This reputation was boosted in the 1970s by former Beatle’s producer George Martin setting up AIR studios on the island, increasing its popularity with musicians.
However, in 1989 Hurricane Hugo hit the Island, which was swiftly followed by the awakening of Soufriere Hills in 1995, both of which caused a severe economic shock. Soufriere Hills’ subsequent eruptions in 1997 closed the country’s air and seaports, and buried several of the island’s districts in ash and mud including the capital Plymouth. With half of Montserrat uninhabitable, an exodus of two-thirds of its populace occurred in the mid-nineties, economically crippling Montserrat before the end of the last century.
Seeing many of the Island’s sectors including telecoms behind the curve in terms of physical infrastructure, Carib Connect saw an opportunity with the emergence of open software standards in telephony and the Caribbean Community’s move towards deregulating telecommunications.
With a population of just under 5,000, the team wanted a system that had the ability for rapid agility and growth inbuilt. Additionally, they sought Islands and regions with similar infrastructure levels, into which they might be able to grow after proving their concept in Montserrat.
De Charles was able to further articulate the possibilities of a software-based telecommunication network, which could use low-latency telecommunication satellites as backhaul infrastructure.
Liaising with Carib Connect’s telecom technicians and the Montserratian government, De Charles was also able deliver a concept proposition and importantly outline a growth roadmap, which identified other African countries that would be open to pilot projects.
“De Charles was also able to deliver a concept proposition and importantly outline a growth roadmap, which identified other African countries that would be open to pilot projects.”