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Published on March 29th, 2012 | by editor

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Digicel leads project to deliver high-capacity undersea cable to Haiti

By Alcatel-Lucent

Two years after Haiti was struck by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the country is set to receive a major boost with the delivery of a US$16m 200km undersea cable which will link the country to the world via internet connectivity, thanks to Digicel.

The project – which is being undertaken in conjunction with Columbus Networks, the undersea fibre-optic cable network provider in the Pan Caribbean Americas region, and Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris et NYSE : ALU) – will dramatically expand the range and quality of fixed and mobile broadband services and content delivered throughout the country.

The earthquake in January 2010 damaged or destroyed much of Haiti’s communications network – including the country’s only other subsea cable link which, to date, has not been fully restored. As a result, the Haitian population and the Haitian economy have suffered from the lack of high-capacity broadband connectivity that is pivotal to business, public sector and social activity.

Digicel Group Director of International Business, Conor Clarke, said; “For more than two years now, Haiti’s recovery has been hindered by the lack of high-capacity broadband connections with the rest of the world. With the delivery of this critical undersea cable, the people of Haiti will see a truly dramatic improvement in the range and quality of communications services available.”

Once completed, the FibraLink Extension to Haiti will provide a secure, high-capacity subsea link with 21 other countries in the Caribbean region – as well as with the United States and the main internet backbone gateway located in South Florida. Digicel is funding the entire project and has drawn on Alcatel-Lucent and Columbus Networks’ technology and demonstrated expertise necessary for the deployment of the high-capacity link.

Digicel’s undersea cable project is the latest in its ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. As the single largest private investor in Haiti, Digicel has invested over U$600 million to date and employs over 900 people directly and more than 60,000 people indirectly.

Paul Scott, President of Columbus Networks said; “We are committed to fostering the development and continuous improvement of the communication infrastructure throughout the region where broadband adoption rates are continuing to grow rapidly. This expansion will enable us to enhance broadband connectivity further and thus deliver reliable bandwidth services at cost-effective prices to a very large population base.”

Philippe Dumont, President of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, said; “We are proud to be part of this initiative as one of the variety of other outreach programmes to support Haiti’s recovery. The benefits that this undersea link can bring to Haiti can’t be over-estimated. We are pleased to collaborate with Digicel and Columbus Networks on such a critical endeavour.”

Alcatel-Lucent originally deployed the FibraLink system which provides coastal and terrestrial connectivity from Kingston to Ocho Rios and Montego Bay in Jamaica with direct connectivity to the US by integrating into other part of the Columbus Networks infrastructure.

About Digicel Group

After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has over 11 million customers across its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.

Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars – an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.

About Columbus

Columbus Networks is a wholesale communications service provider that offers advanced, high-speed bandwidth capacity to telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers. Through the Columbus Business Solutions brand it also provides integrated telecom and IT solutions to the enterprise market. Columbus Networks operates the largest subsea fiber-optic communications network connecting the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The company’s undersea fiber-optic networks span more than 18,000 kilometers of cable routes including Americas Region Caribbean Optical-ring System (ARCOS-1), Colombia – Florida Express (CFX), EC-Link cable system, Fibralink and an ownership in the Maya consortium cable Columbus Networks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbus Communications based in Bridgetown, Barbados. Columbus Networks is based in North Miami Beach, Florida

About Alcatel-Lucent

The long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leading innovator in the field of networking and communications technology, products and services. The company is home to Bell Labs, one of the world’s foremost research centers, responsible for breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Alcatel-Lucent was named one of MIT Technology Review’s 2012 Top 50 list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for breakthroughs such as lightRadio™, which cuts power consumption and operating costs on wireless networks while delivering lightning fast Internet access. Through such innovations, Alcatel-Lucent is making communications more sustainable, more affordable and more accessible as we pursue our mission – Realizing the Potential of a Connected World.

With operations in more than 130 countries and one of the most experienced global services organizations in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The Company achieved revenues of Euro 15.3 billion in 2011 and is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

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