BTL is holding its annual general meeting right now at the Biltmore Best western in Belize City. The company's revenue of 136 million dollars was on par with last year, but its profits were down by 2 million dollars from 21 million to 19.5. We'll examine that tomorrow in our report on the AGM, but tonight, another report on regional bandwidth has been released and it shows Belize lagging at the very bottom of the bandwidth chain.
An internet publication called ICT Pulse has performed what it calls "an update of actual Internet download speeds in 27 Caribbean countries and a comparison with results in May of 2014." Using a recognized broadband testing outfit called OOKLA. They compare and rank consumer upload and download speeds worldwide and represents them as a rolling average in Megabits per second over a 30 day period.
For the Caribbean, they found that the slowest average download speeds were recorded in Cuba, at 1.65 Megs, which ranked 185th worldwide, a little above that was Guyana, with 2.30 megs which was 181st worldwide, and then Belize, at 2.64 megs, 174th out of 192 countries in the world.
The fastest download speed in the region was recorded in Curaçao, at 15.94 Megs, followed by the Bahamas at 14.04 megs. The survey also found that the average download speed in Belize decreased slightly in the past four months.
We shared these findings with a BTL representative who told us that the company is making incremental improvementsand the "doubling of speeds in October, quote, "should shift this position considerably."
The schedule for those new rates show that the new minimum speed will now be 256K, which will cost 25 dollars monthly, the same price of the 128k which is now being phased out. And those who used to pay 56 dollars for 256 k, will now get 512 k for that price. And so it goes right down the line, doubling speeds for the same price, and adding a new speed for the deep pockets, 16 megs, which will cost seven hundred dollars a month.
Why Does Belize Lag Behind Other Countries In BandwidthAnd while BTL is ready to work with wholesalers, we asked when will Belize's status on bandwidth surveys get a wholesale upgrade? As we've been reporting, every single survey of Caribbean Bandwidth puts Belize very near the bottom. The most recent survey placed this country 174th out of 192 countries worldwide. Here's what Barrow said:..
Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"I have seen it but I haven't drilled down into it, so really I can't speak concretely to it but what I can say is that we are moving forward. We are moving the internet penetration rate forward, we hope to double it in the next 2 years and so there are a lot of great things to come and an entire transformation of what the internet is in Belize and who has access to the internet."