O’Brien’s Deep Blue Cable to back O’Brien’s Digicel in Caribbean infrastructure project

18 October 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Digicel, the Caribbean mobile operator owned by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, has brought in O’Brien’s subsea venture Deep Blue Cable to support its government contracts.

In official terms, Deep Blue Cable “has announced its role as marine subject matter experts in support of a multi-million dollar, 15-year ICT contract with the governments of the Caribbean nations of Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”.

Niall Savage, programme director at Digicel, said: “Deep Blue Cable’s deeply experienced team and first-hand understanding of the need for advanced telecom services in this region are huge assets to this project.”

The projects in question are related to the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP), a long-running project backed by the World Bank and coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to upgrade the infrastructure of the region.

According to Deep Blue, CARCIP “has the ultimate goal of encouraging key stakeholders, including citizens, government agencies, regulators and policy makers to embrace information and communications technology (ICT), further improving and driving regional economic development with significantly reduced costs and bolstered productivity”.

The project involves a government wide area network, a schools network and a subsea cable between Saint Vincent and Grenada with landings on five of Grenada’s islands. Deep Blue Cable will work in support of the submarine cable element as Digicel’s subject matter experts.

Steve Scott, CEO at Deep Blue Cable, said: “The unprecedented scope and scale of this project will ensure a transformative result for the people of these countries and establish the Caribbean as a leader in the global economy.”

Savage commented. “We are excited to have them on board helping us deliver this world-class digital highway to the governments of Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Deep Blue Cable said it has assisted Digicel in the procurement process through vendor selection and contract negotiations and will continue to be a key player in the management and delivery of the infrastructure.

The company has brought in two suppliers, Barbados-based International Telecom Marine and Nexans Norway, and the cable is due to be ready for service in mid-to-late 2019.

Paul Kravis, VP of International Telecom, said: “IT is very pleased to have been selected by Digicel and Deep Blue to undertake the construction of the subsea cable system for this project.”

Digicel said that its relationship with Deep Blue Cable is part of a long-term plan developed to meet the requirements for its significant international subsea capacity supply in the Caribbean. Digicel said it “is a substantial anchor client of Deep Blue Cable”. O’Brien, founder and chairman of Digicel, incorporated Deep Blue Cable to construct and operate a new subsea system to serve the region – though his relationship to the subsea company was only revealed through a report in a Jamaican newspaper.