Nial Gillet | A Belize-American Internet Security Consultant has written an appeal to the Belize government owned and controlled telecommunication company – Belize Telemedia Limited, better known as B.T.L. on the issue of unrealistic and crippling Internet access costs in Belize. B.T.L. was a a private company that was recently expropriated by the Belize government.
I need more… It has been a while since I have written an article about B.T.L. A while back I was griping about not having any decent internet, as it was taking too long to reach my house here in beautiful Burrell Boom in the historic Belize River Valley. I was pleasantly surprised that coincidentally, that service was practically just about to be unveiled in my neck of the woods, and just like that, after years of no service, it became reality. I was connected! But here I am, months later, and once again I am not happy.
Before I start my new gripe, let me say that for all the time that I have had this DSL service, it has been working practically flawlessly. I am one to check my speeds very often, and I have, for the most part, been getting what I have been paying for, and the system has been up without a glitch for months. It is always good to be able to pay for a basic service and get the basic results expected. But therein lays the rub.
I need more. Yes, just like some Hollywood movie star wife, good enough is never enough. I really expected that by now, there would be more options available to me as a consumer, especially with the massive changes in that company. I want cheaper costs, faster speeds and additional services like an affordable static IP address, among other technical things.
Is that too much to ask for? I certainly do not expect with our current customer base that we can have internet for free, but it is high time we move away from continuing to promote a 128K connection as “High Speed Internet.” Come on man, 128k has not been high speed since the days of dial-up, and the prices for a decent connection (1-2mb) in Belize can pay for a mortgage. Really.
A 12mb connection (12,000kbps) in the U.S.A. can run about U.S. $40 nowadays, and even in Jamaica, a country which once suffered from poor or expensive service just like we do now, enjoy a MINIMUM of 8mb for a measly $28 US, or a blazing 15mb for about $38! For comparison, I now pay (with my wonderful Home Fone Plan) a little under $200bz a month for .5mb. That’s $100 US for 500kb – half-a-megabit, in tech speak.
Now maybe I am in the minority, and the vast majority of Belizean internet subscribers could care less about kilobits and megabits, as long as they can connect and check their Facebook account, even if it takes all morning to update Farmville. But in all frankness BTL, even if you cannot afford more bandwidth, the least you can do is to offer a cheaper package for those companies who bravely attempt each day to make an honest living, and need to use the Internet for their work.
What wonderful technologies we are being left out of! What incredible ingenuousness currently exist that we cannot utilize in this country due to a dilapidated pricing and connection strategy! As for me, how can I – the nation for that matter – compete with the world that has long passed us by due to shortsightedness? Think about the possibilities.
Then look at our reality – beautiful Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, the Gateway to the Caribbean, the Jewel – running on nothing the equivalent of two dial-up connections.
Que Lastima! What a shame. What can I do? Must I mortgage my house to afford a faster connection? Give up my children’s educational fund? Sell chicken bar-b-que on the weekends to make up? Is there hope for my internet connection? Or am I to remain in limbo, in some sort of Internet Purgatory, a place of no hope? Help me somebody, I need more.
Triad IQ Security Consultants
Editor’s Note: Nial Gillet worked at I.B.M. in the U.S. before returning to Belize to run his own Internet Security Consulting company.