LIME launches Next Generation Network
October 8, 2010
LIME launches Next Generation Network

With just one flick of a switch, St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the first sovereign nation to enable a Next Generation Network (NGN) and retire its “System X” network.{{more}}

The NGN was installed by leading telecoms company LIME and was launched at an an official ceremony at the LIME Technical Ground Arnos Vale on Tuesday 5, 2010.

General Manager of LIME Angus Steele, making welcoming remarks, called the event an historic moment for the people of LIME and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Steele noted that were two significant incidents which occurred during the System X stage, which propelled the decision to move fully into the NGN. Steele mentioned a customer’s issue with dialing long strings of digits to complete a call, as well as the shut down of System X which caused a breakdown to LIME’s business operation in the country and the country’s overall ability to conduct business.

Steele said the NGN project was approved and commenced in July 2006. It is worth $8 million in investments and involved changing equipment at 24 sites in 3 phases. Steele explained that the NGN allows for universal broadband access, where the setting up of Internet access takes only a few minutes and can be done from LIME’s office.

One of the most significant benefits of the NGN is that every fixed line customer in the country is able to self-activate Broadband in only a few minutes.

The now retired System X equipment was installed 25 years ago and operated in the conventional manner with the company’s engineers and technicians being an integral part of the provisioning exercise for all services.

Based on the Internet Protocol, NGN uses a number of technologies including wireless and mobile, fiber and cable or by upgrades to existing copper lines, to deliver broadband Voice over IP, fixed mobile convergence and IP television.

Steele added the NGN has a News Broadband package for businesses that require speed for Internet video and audio streaming and downloading music. He, however, noted that there are still a few challenges as LIME seeks to introduce customers to the new dialing codes and the use of the standard North American dialing.

Also making brief remarks, LIME Chief Operating Officer David Crawford commended the local team on the launch of the NGN, stating that the switch to the network “is testament to the engineering skills, persistence and blood, sweat and a few tears of the local team.”

Referring to a study done by the World Bank, Crawford stated that the bank’s study revealed that increase of “10% penetration drives 1.6 increases in GDP.” He added that the introduction of NGN provides the opportunity for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to increase its GDP.

Crawford added that the NGN will make lives better in the Caribbean, and will enable access to education and the national curriculum, medicine and improvement of security.

The event also featured the ceremonial shut down of System X and the unveiling of the commemoratory plaque by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who also gave the feature address at the event. Addresses were also made my Minister of Telecommunications Jerrol Thompson and NGN commissioning partners, representatives from Ericsson, Huawei and Sonus Networks.(OS)