Telecoms must meet needs of expanding O&G industry – Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes

Guyana’s Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, says her ministry is putting much thought into the role it must play in the emerging oil and gas sector.

Speaking on the “Budget in Focus” programme on the South American country’s National Communications Network on November 29, she said, “We want to make sure that we have communications providers; telecoms companies that are able to meet the needs of a new and expanding oil industry. Those industries require around the clock, fast internet, and communications access.”

She noted that the issues with connectivity should be no more when servicing a ‘massive’ industry, like oil and gas.

Hughes explained that “You know in the past there were times when a cable would go down and for a couple hours or minutes depending on the challenge we could not have internet. Luckily, it doesn’t happen as much. This is where for any industry in the 21st century, especially the oil and gas industry, you have to have those things in place.”

She also added that “We definitely want to make sure that there are enough fiber optic cables that can come to Guyana that we have residual benefits to support the expansion in these areas.  This will allow oil and gas companies to have access to the speeds they need, the volume of bandwidth, and of course, at an affordable cost.”

To further support the emerging petroleum industry, the Minister said that efforts to support the full liberalization of the telecommunications sector will be heightened in 2019.

She said the Government is currently in negotiations with Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN), which is the parent company of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) Company.

“We are going to be ending that monopoly that will allow other players to come into the market and I’m happy that we have had a very good relationship with GTT. They are partners in this process of liberalizing this environment,” she stated.

The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill was passed into law in July 2016 and is intended, among other things, to pave the way for the end to exclusivity of fixed line, international voice and data services by one company.