Leon Williams, director general of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), has reportedly indicated that the Bahaman telco is planning to enter the cellular market in Haiti. According to Haiti Libre, the executive revealed that BTC needs to expand outside of its domestic market in order to improve its revenues, and as such, views Haiti as a good opportunity. Williams pointed out: ‘In 2005 we negotiated building the fibre submarine cable into Haiti […] We had made an offer to work with Teleco de Haiti [now Natcom] and looked at the possibility of a GSM licence, an internet service provider (ISP) licence and a cable licence. We did not capitalise on it and there was a change of administrations in 2007, so nothing happened with Haiti […] We still have the cable there, it is working, it is underutilised and certainly BTC would like to go back into Haiti and see what the possibilities are.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in December 2006 Teleco (Natcom) implemented a link between its network and an extension to the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network (BDSNi), as operated by the BTC, via a Port-au-Prince landing station. In July 2008 the Haitian telco and BTC resolved to work towards expanding the utilisation of the existing fibre link beyond direct traffic between the two telcos, and also proposed an option to create a Network Access Point (NAP) in Haiti which other operators can connect through. However, no developments followed, and the undersea cable continued to route an insignificant part of Haiti’s traffic; it was not until October 2009 that BTC confirmed the signing its first contract with a data service provider in Haiti. Although the cable operator said it expected four more Haitian wholesale agreements by the year’s end, the earthquake in January put the Port-au-Prince link out of action.