The Jamaican government has said it plans to closely monitor the proposed USD3 billion acquisition of Columbus International by Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which was announced last week. The two firms both claim a sizeable chunk of Jamaica’s fixed line and broadband markets, with CWC operating under the LIME banner and Columbus owning cable TV and broadband operator Flow. The Jamaica Observer quotes the country’s minister of science, technology, energy and mining, Phillip Paulwell, as saying: ‘I am going to be very vigilant and watchful about what happens going forward, and we are going to be clear and certain that appropriate measures, appropriate agreements (and) appropriate additions will have to be done to enable that … We will safeguard competition going forward.’
Columbus, which generated revenue of USD505 million in the year ended 31 December 2013, has around 700,000 residential customers in the Caribbean, Central America and Andean region. It offers services under the Flow brand name in Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and Curacao, and also serves Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda under the brand name Karib Cable. Columbus also provides corporate data and cloud based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. Meanwhile, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data centre hosting throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region. The telco presides over a fully protected, ringed submarine fibre-optic network spanning close to 42,300km and a 26,400km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network.