Antigua has always been popular as a great place for superyachts with its safe anchorages, the best of yachting services and friendly people. Now however it will become the only sensible place to base and run a yacht during the Caribbean winter yachting season.
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda and Digicelare partnering on a collaborative project, involving significant investment from Digicel, that will provide yachts with faster broadband than almost anywhere else on earth!
This will make the small twin island state the most technically advanced in the Caribbean and more advanced than all of Europe!
Currently Ericsson is installing the new technology around the island. There will be a mast that provides excellent, dedicated, coverage to the whole of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour including Turtle Bay and surrounding areas. The Government has made the coverage for yachting, resorts and hotels an important feature in their strategy.
4G is wireless broadband received by using a USB pen drive attached to your laptop or via a 4G router incorporating a wireless access point.
Every yacht, sail or motor of any size will be able to have access to a real world speed of 10 Mbps enabling a new world of video calling, streaming, and data transfer that in the past has only be available to the extremely large yachts using VSAT at enormous expense.
4G LTE is a version of 4G that has been adopted in the USA by AT&T and Verizon as their technology of choice and is 3 to 4 times faster than other implementations of 4G. It is hundreds of times faster than 3G.
The plan is for 85% coverage in the first phase with coverage continuing to improve to a full 100% coverage based on demand. All the yachting areas will be covered in the first phase.
The planning and development of 4G LTE in Antigua has been of major interest to European based e3 who are specialist communications integrators for yachts with an office in Antigua.
Our involvement with Digicel and the Government starts with advice on the location of the mast to make sure the service covers all the locations needed. E3 are also designing a service contract specifically for yachts, based on our experience of what yachts need, demand and use. The contracts will be very different to the land based contracts. Primarily they will only be for the length of the yachting season.
The Digicel service will roam on the Digicel networks of the other islands but only on HSPA+ service levels. HSPA+ service is effectively a super 3G service and will not have the performance that 4G LTE has in Antigua.
E3 plan to eliminate the chance of “Bill Shock” by offering roaming for an inexpensive fixed fee on the other Digicel networks during the winter season of 2012 to 2013.
Roaming will be limited to about ten other islands but this will grow as the HSPA+ technology gets installed around the other islands.
Currently there are no plans to install 4G LTE in any of the other islands in the Caribbean.