Leveraging teamwork and technology in Santa Flora and Palo Seco
Bmobile has been fervently upgrading its infrastructure by rolling out fiber in several areas across Trinidad and Tobago. The company’s recent experience in Palo Seco and Santa Flora, two rural communities in south Trinidad, is being considered a textbook case of company/community collaboration with residents being full of praise for bmobile modernizing their community with a new fiber network completed in January.
Elizabeth Mohammed-Ali, a member of the Santa Flora Village Council shared the remarkable story. She explained that the Council helps to foster togetherness within the community, as well as act as a vehicle for the advancement of the Santa Flora and Palo Seco communities. They are the group behind many of the community activities including the Kiddies Carnival and Easter Bonnet Parades, Emancipation, Eid and Divali Celebrations and the Agricultural and Educational Support Groups. “A lot of professionals within the community got involved and we realized we needed to upgrade the technology we were using to improve our communication because a lot of our planned projects would involve collaborating and information sharing online. We also felt that to be able to attract the younger persons to the group, we needed a technology-driven Council. So, one of our first projects was to have the internet service within our community upgraded.”
Kirston George, Senior Manager Infrastructure Design and Maintenance explained that the Santa Flora and Palo Seco areas were previously being served on the old copper network which made it difficult to deliver modern communications services. “bmobile is on a drive to modernize its infrastructure in Trinidad and Tobago and one of the key ways of doing that is eliminating the use of copper in the network. Our CEO Dr. Ronald Walcott is leading the company to become an agile broadband service provider with a focus on updating our national infrastructure with 4G LTE wireless technology and fiber. This allows us to provide our customers with the most advanced Internet access and entertainment services.”
Renee Campbell, the Village Council Secretary, stated that the Council decided to reach out to bmobile, the longest serving communications service provider in the community and the one used by most the residents. This was done via an August 2017 letter to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ronald Walcott who replied within days to their request. “bmobile is a critical stakeholder in the development of our community so we felt it was important that we engage them directly to share some of our development plans and to request the urgent upgrade of the telecommunications infrastructure within our area.” Campbell continued “We are extremely happy with the fast response and support we received from bmobile because in this information age, the development of our residential, educational, agricultural and business communities is closely tied to the availability of reliable high speed internet and the other high-end communications services.”
The Santa Flora and Palo Seco fiber programs brought both communities together with bmobile over the shared goal of developing the communities and all parties were equally committed to the success of the projects. “After we were contacted by the Village Council, a decision was made to prioritize the fiber upgrade in these two areas. We were able to complete the upgrade of the network within two months, from December 2017 to January 2018.” George continued “Notwithstanding the scale of the project, different functional areas within bmobile came together to make this happen quickly, with the full support of a passionate community that was actively involved in getting the services up and running. This project means a lot to us at bmobile because it demonstrated the benefits of the holistic teamwork that took place not just within bmobile but with the communities as well.”
Sean Holder, a senior technician at the Installation and Repairs Department was touched by the warmth and loyalty of the customers, citing one Santa Flora resident who opened up her home for use as a demonstration area for residents to visit, test the new bmobile landline, broadband, home security and IPTV services. “The turnout by the residents was overwhelming and they were blown away by the service experience.” Desmond Campbell, the President of the Village Council explained, “The response from our residents was great with over 450 persons applying within the first 10 days.” He extended their sincere gratitude to bmobile for heeding the call of the Council and the wider community of over 500 homes that they represent.
Sandra Limere from Jacob Settlement in Santa Flora was one of the new fiber customers. She has been with bmobile since 1976. “I am one of the first persons in the country who received Internet service way back when and I am also proud to be one of the first persons to adopt bmobile’s fiber connection for broadband and entertainment TV services in my community. I had cable TV with another company but it was terrible with black and white shows and frequent breakdowns. With bmobile TV we get clear, sharp and bright picture resolution in full colour, as well as more cable channels. We received the serviceswithin 1 week of application. The technicians were on time and the installation was excellent. I am very happy with bmobile and I don’t plan to leave.”
Shervon Seepersadsingh, an 18-year-old IT student, Santa Flora resident and online gamer agreed. “We got our new residential fiber connection with landline, High Speed Internet and bmobile TV service within a couple days of applying. We upgraded because we were having a lot of lagging and latency issues before. Now I can comfortably do everything I want, including faster downloads of the apps I use, play more online games and do my school research online. I really appreciate the excellent service we are getting from bmobile.”