21 December 2012

First meetings of St Helena Government and eFive Telecom's CEO Dr. Rosalind Thomas

Dr. Rosalind Thomas, © eFive Telecoms
Improving telecommunications was one priority of a recent business trip by St Helena's Governor and its Chief Executive for Economic Development to South Africa, reports the St Helena Sentinel in its issue from 20 December (p.12).

Julian Morris, Chief Executive for Economic Development, met Dr. Rosalind Thomas, CEO of eFive, the company proposing the fibre optic submarine cable to the island that will improve the speed of telecoms immensely. This represents the first meeting between Dr Thomas and a St Helena Government representative.

Mr Morris told: “I said to her [Dr Thomas] you have a Saint name and she said that’s because two of my ancestors are Saints from St Helena! Everyone in South Africa seems to be at some stage related to a Saint.”

According to a newsletter released by eFive Dr. Thomas recently also attended an informal dinner hosted in Cape Town by the British Consul General, Mr Chris Trott to meet Mr Mark Capes, the Governor of Saint Helena, Ascension Islands and Tristan da Cunha. eFive intend to drop an unrepeatered spur from the South Atlantic Express cable connecting the island, which is viewed as a critical infrastructure investment to enhance the island’s economic development.

eFive are currently in the process of securing users and finance. “We the island, the Government of St Helena are supporting that process,” said Morris “and putting our name to it. The island now is embedded in that project, so in all of the promotional material and the way the cable is being designed, that sub marine cable is being designed upon coming to this island.”

High-speed broadband would be huge for education. Not only could we make better use of online materials, but with affordable broadband teachers could develop their practice from home.
I'm an IT engineer and I would love to return to my island to start an IT business, but because of the slow, expensive and unreliable internet connection this is simply impossible.
I had to leave St Helena to study. Being 5000 miles away from my family and friends is hard. Not being able to skype with them due to the slow and expensive internet on St Helena is even harder.
Socioeconomic status is now heavily reliant on broadband penetration. With the ever-growing importance of the internet, St Helena with its limited access is in danger of being left behind.