Bermuda looks set to see the arrival of a new player in the high speed internet access market with the news that Horizon Communications plans to offer broadband fixed wireless access (BFWA) services by the summer. Local newspaper The Royal Horizon Gazette writes that the newcomer’s proposed service will be delivered via communication towers dotted across the island, with the first mast scheduled to go live at the Barkers Hill Tower site, providing data speeds of up to 300Mbps to end users.
The Gazette goes on to say that Horizon Communications plans to help fund its route to market using cryptocurrency to raise capital for the venture via an ‘initial coin offering’, issuing a ‘utility token’ – dubbed HRZN – to would-be investors. The crowd sale is planned to begin on 22 January, with an initial ‘soft cap’ target of raising the equivalent of about USD2 million at current pricing. Horizon founder and CEO Gilbert Darrell is quoted as saying that if he succeeds in the crowdfunding plan, his company will employ a model similar to other operations across the globe which rely on non-line of sight delivery methods to reach customers. With ambitions to expand its business model into the Caribbean, the start-up believes it can cover 95% of Bermuda and is targeting internet speeds of at least 600Mbps within two years of launch. As well as offering ultra-fast surfing, the company also aims to launch a range of IPTV and VoIP packages, it says.
However, Horizon must first secure an Integrated Communications Operating Licence (ICOL) and spectrum licence from the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB), which currently has a moratorium in place on the award of new ICOL and spectrum licences. Here, Darrell remains upbeat, noting: ‘Horizon has met informally with the RAB, formally with government staff and ministers before the election and through our partner’s communique’, as a result of which ‘we have found an approved solution and have negotiated with licence holders to partner with to launch our services. Horizon is committed to working with the RAB for their goal is the same as Horizon’s, seeing a better telecommunications environment in Bermuda.’
In response, the RAB told the paper it was not aware of any deals to use another ICOL and licence ‘and would expect to be notified of any such proposal’.