Cable & Wireless on a mission
December 17, 2004
Cable & Wireless on a mission

Telecommunications giant Cable & Wireless, in partnership with Advanced Micro Device (AMD), is on a mission to bring Internet service to 50 per cent of the world’s population by 2015.

Both companies have forged an alliance through an initiative dubbed “50 by 15”. {{more}}

This initiative, rolled out on Wednesday, December 1, at the luxurious Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, coincided with the regional launch of Cable and Wireless’ exclusive new Internet solution “Max”. .

The advent of “Max”, according to Len de Barros, chief operating officer (COO) of Cable & Wireless Caribbean, is “To bridge the digital divide.”

The telecoms chief observed that, when compared with other countries around the world, the Caribbean residential Internet penetration presently stands at “three per cent”, hence the 50 by 15 objective.

De Barros noted that one of the big obstacles standing in the way of people getting online and connected was the high cost of a computer and the difficulty in setting up and using the computer.

But, according to de Barros, “Max is the solution specifically designed to address those challenges.”

Cable & Wireless’ partner in this initiative, AMD, is optimistic about its success. Senior vice-president of AMD Personal Connecting Solutions Group, Iain Morris, said that 50 by 15 is destined to be successful. “50 by 15 is designed to create economic opportunities. It is a noble cause; it’s about providing access to incredibly empowering tools and making sure they are within economic reach for the average family in places like Mexico, Russia, Brazil, China and here in the Caribbean.”

Morris said the new initiative combines “simple and accessible technology with a geo-sensitive approach”.

Max is the brainchild of AMD, an American-based company, that created the Personal Internet Communicator (PIC).

Similar to the Central Processing Unit (CPU) found on a regular computer system, which is a plug and play device, Max comes complete with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, ADSL modem or Ethernet connector. It also includes pre-installed software from Micro-soft including e-mail, instant messaging, media player, spreadsheet and word-processing capabilities.

In addition, Max allows for other devices to be connected to it.

It is outfitted with tailored software features that prevent the user from inadvertently deleting system files or other critical pre-installed content.

Developed primarily for first time Internet-at-home households, Max includes Cable and Wireless’ broadband Internet service as well as dial-up connection.

Depending on the broadband selected, customers can experience speeds from three to 10 times faster than dial-up.

This BVI function was the last of a series of launches, which took place elsewhere in the Caribbean during 2004.

These launches began last month in the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, and Turks and Caicos islands. Max was also launched last week in Barbados, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.

Other launches are slated for Jamaica and Grenada in January of next year, with availability in all Cable and Wireless service areas in the Caribbean by the end of February 2005.

The price of Max varies slightly by market in the 14 countries served by Cable & Wireless in the region.

Top government officials and media personnel across the region were encouraged to test drive Max at special demonstration kiosks set up during the breakfast session launch event held in Virgin Gorda.