First Year Of
At the VIP Anniversary Event Address after observing protocol Mr. John Reid, president and Chief Operating Officer of Columbus Barbados said the following:-
Good evening everyone! Thank you very much for joining us tonight as we officially celebrate our first anniversary in Barbados.
About this time last year, over 5,000 “Bajans” joined us for our official entry into the market via our expo - Flow World, where we unveiled both our Flow and Columbus Business Solutions brands.
In the relatively short period of time that has since elapsed, we have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from Barbados and the corresponding growth of our operation on the island.
At our launch last year, we committed to delivering service to approximately 30% of households in 2013. Today, 60% of households throughout the island have access to our residential services.
Looking back, it certainly has been an eventful year. You will hear about many of our accomplishments from Niall, but I have to say that Barbados, you have exceeded our expectations and in many ways, Barbados is a significant success story for us.
At our launch we promised that we would transform telecommunications services on the island. In November, Barbados officially became the first Caribbean island to have access to broadband speeds of up to 150 mbps.
Barbados was also the first of the Columbus operations to launch fibre to the home (FTTH) and IPTV video services in the region.
Similarly, the business community now has access to the fastest broadband speeds and the most affordable suite of business communications services, including advanced cloud services that significantly increase efficiency and reduce costs.
We knew it was not going to be a smooth process – building a new infrastructure (FTTH), launching a new platform (IPTV), while integrating Karib Cable and Tele-Barbados into the regional Columbus operation. We certainly appreciate your patience and support as we worked to deliver a world-class network and best suite of residential and business services to this market.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Niall Sheehy and the team of 220+ employees here in Barbados for the tremendous job they have done in just one year.
We are proud of all of our employees who have embraced the Columbus vision of excellence, and who have played such a critical role in our tremendous growth on the island.
2014 is a special year for Columbus in general. This year, we celebrate 10 years in business. Like our growth in Barbados, our growth in the region has been tremendous.
I have worked in this industry for over 25 years, the last 9+ in the Caribbean, and I admit that our experiences in the Caribbean have been nothing short of phenomenal and for me personally rewarding.
We have evolved from a small operation in the Bahamas to become one of the most significant telecommunications company across Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the Caribbean alone, our footprint now spans eight countries – from Trinidad in the south to Jamaica in the north, and in between our two largest operations, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Antigua & Barbuda. And of course we also have our Curacao operation in the Netherland Antilles.
As a Company we proud of the significant strides we have made: o We now serve over 650,000 customers daily through 2,700 employees o Through our joint venture with Cable and Wireless our parent Company has widened our footprint from 27 countries to 42. Countries across the Caribbean and Latin America
Earlier this year we announced the acquisition of Prometel, which owns an extensive fiber optic network in Colombia, making this our largest acquisition to date o Columbus Networks, a subsidiary of Columbus International, was awarded “Best Caribbean Wholesale Carrier” at the 2013 Global Carrier Awards.
We are one of six companies in the world and the only in the region, certified as a SIP trunk provider for Microsoft Lync to our business customers.
For Columbus, however, our investment in any region goes beyond its infrastructural needs. The over-arching philosophy of Columbus is to “Enable people to transform their lives by providing them with leading communications technologies and services.”
This philosophy is entrenched in the Columbus corporate culture, or the Columbus “DNA” to strive for excellence in all we do, and to enable lasting and transformative changes in the communities we serve.
We believe it is our responsibility to promote social, economic and environmental sustainability – as we profitably grow our business and reach for higher levels of performance.
In all of our operations, our business model includes the commitment to not only deploy the best broadband technology available; but to leverage our technology, expertise and partners to develop social development programs that will have a lasting and transformative impact in the countries we serve.
This is why we have committed to free Internet access to public schools, and engage in regional partnerships such as the one with Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to help implement a digital syllabus and encourage the development and use of relevant local educational content across the region.
In each country we adopt a collaborative approach, partnering with government ministries, private organizations and service clubs for technology-based learning solutions, mentorship opportunities and national youth leadership initiatives to broaden the impact of enhanced learning and skills building for youth.
In Barbados we are proud partners of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, a program that supports entrepreneurship among secondary school students. Later this month, regional NGO, Brightpath, one of our regional partners, will roll out its community-focused program here on the island.
These training initiatives are designed to drive the use of technology to enable communities to develop indigenous digital Caribbean content and expose micro and small businesses to ways that they can better utilize technology in their operations.
I am proud to say that our business model is capturing attention around the globe. Perhaps one of our most significant recent achievements to date was securing significant new financing, where our parent company Columbus International, raised US$1.25 billion in the bond market. Our efforts were so successful that our bond offering was six times over- subscribed.
This was a proud moment for us as it demonstrates that global financial sponsors have recognized what we have achieved in less than 10 years, and that they also believe on our long-term strategic plan. And that strategic plan sees Columbus continuing to invest in Barbados and across the broader region.
To continue to distinguish ourselves in the markets we serve, we have introduced two bold, ambitious goals for our Company:-
To Become the “Best Service Provider in the Region” and to become the “Employer of Choice”
Again, we recognize that this is no easy feat. It will take us some time to achieve these two ambitious goals, but we will be successful and the goals that we have established for ourselves will be very visible to all of our stakeholders. Before I conclude, to demonstrate our continued commitment to Barbados, I am pleased to announce that within a few weeks, Barbados will experience another “first” in the Caribbean region, 300Mbps Broadband service.
At our launch we said we would “positively disrupt” static markets and what better place to introduce this significant milestone than in the market that has represented such a positive story for Columbus.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have worked – and will continue to work – tirelessly to ensure that Barbados is at the forefront of the technological revolution that we are leading throughout the Caribbean.
We recognize that we have a responsibility to help build a better tomorrow; instead of sitting back and waiting for things to happen.
So, thank you for sharing this evening with us here at Columbus. Enjoy the rest of the night and we look forward to a bright future here in Barbados.
Mr. John Reid, President and Chief Operating Officer of Columbus Communications
Grantley Adams International Airport Christ Church
Thursday, April 24th 2014