|The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd.
|Founder||Government of the Bahamas|
|Headquarters||Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas|
Wireless broadband services
|Owner||Bahamian Government (49% voting / 49 economic)
Cable & Wireless Communications (51%voting / 49% economic)
National Trust (2% economic)
Number of employees
BTC is an acronym for the Bahamas Telecommunications Company and offers telephone, internet and wireless services. In New Providence and Grand Bahama, it operates a GSM based EDGE/HSPA+ network and is currently rolling out its LTE network. Dual-class shares are 49% economic shares/49% voting shares of BTC are owned by the Government of the Bahamas, with 49% economic shares/51% voting shares owned by Cable & Wireless Communications and 2% economic shares in a national trust.
1892- Late 90’s
In 1892, the first telegraph cable landed in The Bahamas. This submarine cable was connected from Jupiter, Florida to the western district of New Providence, coming ashore in Goodman’s Bay. The area then became known as “Cable Beach.” Over the years technology advanced and on October 5, 1906, the first telephone system was introduced with 150 subscribers in Nassau.
Gradually, the Out Islands began to enter the communications age, with Bimini getting wireless telegraphy in 1920 and Grand Bahama opening its first Telegraph Station in West End in 1925. On December 16, 1933 that first telephone service to the United States from the Bahamas was introduced.
After World War II, the Telecommunications Department, of The Bahamas began to make steady progress in its development. Frequency shifters, the first in the Caribbean, were installed in 1946. An automatic time of day announcer was installed in Nassau in 1951, the very first outside of the continental US. Nine years later, in 1960, a Forward Tropospheric Scatter was installed between Delaporte and Florida City, the second of its kind in this hemisphere, the first being in Cuba.
In 1966, the Government of The Bahamas, by an Act of Parliament, incorporated the Telecommunications Department as the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, a quasi governmental corporation, known as Batelco. In 1967, the formerly expatriate-run Batelco got its first all-Bahamian Executive team, under the direction of R.E. Knowles, the first Bahamian General Manager.
In 1971, direct distance dialing was introduced for Batelco operators and in 1972, under new General Manager Albury E. Curling, a $7 million submarine cable was installed from West Palm Beach to Eight Mile Rock through a joint venture agreement between AT & T and Batelco.
Robert Bartlett took the reins of the Corporation on October 15, 1979, when he became General Manager. Under Mr. Bartlett’s administration, Batelco moved from its rented location in the Chase Building on Thompson Boulevard to its own offices on John F. Kennedy Drive, where the company’s headquarters is currently located.
In 1986 the Corporation joined the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organizations (CANTO) and hosted its annual meeting and trade show, as well as acquiring the assets of The Grand Bahama Telephone Company. It was also in the late eighties that Cellular Telephone Service was inaugurated in The Bahamas.
In 1990, Robert Bartlett retired and Barrett Russell succeeded him as General Manager. In February 1992, fibre optics became a part of the Batelco system, enabling system upgrades throughout the archipelago, including Inagua where service was introduced in March of that year.
Sir Albert Miller took over as Executive Chairman of Batelco in 1995. The following year, on April 10, 1996, an agreement was signed for the engineering and installation of the Bahamas II Submarine Cable and, on August 26, Batelco entered the internet market with the introduction of Batelnet.
The 1990s ended with the introduction of CLASS to residential customers, bringing them caller id, automatic recall and a number of other features. The end of the millennium also saw significant upgrades to its fiber optic system, including a 26 million dollar cable between Vero Beach, Florida and Eight Mile Rock owned by a consortium with Batelco and AT&T as the Terminal parties.
From BATELCO to BTC
The new millennium also marked a change from the name Batelco. On September 4, 2002, the company transitioned to the acronym BTC.
In the mid-2000s, the GSM (Global System for Mobile) telephone system was introduced and replaced TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access ).
During this time, the submarine BDSNI cable was introduced, connecting 14 islands of The Bahamas.
In 2006, the BHi or Bahamas Haiti International marked the first time BTC partnered with another nation. Using the BDSNI cable, BTC links Port-au-Prince, Haiti with Matthew Town, Inagua providing the neighbouring nation with Vibe, I-Connect, GSM, WiFi and other products and services .
In 2007 BTC partnered with Cisco Networks to build a new Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) backbone. This new network allowed BTC to provide new internet-protocol (IP) services to their customers.
In late 2007, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, BTC tested a pilot program that allowed medical experts in New Providence to read the vital signs of a patient located at a Ministry of Health clinic in Coopers Town, Abaco.
During 2007 the Six Sigma program was created to reduce the response time to both fault resolution and the installation of services. The Universal Customer Service Representative (CSR), was designed to allow a CSR to work across different technologies, products and services, serving as a “one-stop shop” for BTC customers.
In 2008, a new online directory, bahamasypages. com was also introduced.
On April 6, 2011, the Government of The Bahamas and Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) signed a document, privatizing The Bahamas Telecommunications Company - BTC and transferred 51% of the public corporation to the London-based company for a purchase price of $210 million. New payment methods including online minute-loading were introduced. A single number call centre was launched. The elimination of long distance charges between islands for calls originating from cell phones was introduced and a half million dollar expansion transformed what had been an administrative complex into the largest CWC store in the Caribbean. BTC also began a multi-million dollar network overhaul to shift its data traffic from 2.5G speed to 4G, enabling the introduction of a host of high-speed phones and devices on the market. In 2014, after a change in government, a 2% share of the company - and controlling interest in BTC - was transferred from CWC back to Government.
Broadband and Data
- DSL Speed Test
- I-Connect (DSL)
- My I-connect (email)
- Vibe Unite
- Metro Ethernet
- Talk It Up Calling Card
- Mobile to Mobile TopUp
- iText (international texting)
- Telephone Service
- HomePhone Plus
- Key Systems and PBX
- Corporate Internet
- Leased Lines & Data Circuits
- Business Lines
- Satellite Broadcast Services
- International Toll Free
There are currently 40 BTC retail stores throughout the entire Bahamas. These locations include:
- Hope Town - Abaco
- Man O War - Abaco
- Marsh Harbour - Abaco
- Moore's Island - Abaco
- Sandy Point - Abaco
- Treasure Cay - Abaco
- Fresh Creek - Andros
- Mangrove Cay - Andros
- Nicholls Town - Andros
- The Bluff - Andros
- Mangrove Cay - Andros
- Spring Point - Acklins
- Great Harbour Cay - Berry Island
- Bimini - Bimini
- Cat Island - Cat Island
- Church Grove - Crooked Island
- Harbour Island - Eleuthera
- Rock Sound - Eleuthera
- Governors Harbour - Eleuthera
- Black Point - Exuma
- George Town - Exuma
- Staniel Cay - Exuma
- Eight Mile Rock - Grand Bahama
- Pioneers Way - Grand Bahama
- Seahorse Drive - Grand Bahama
- Matthew Town - Inagua
- Albert Town - Long Cay
- Deadmans Cay - Long Island
- Simms - Long Island
- Abraham's Bay - Mayaguana
- Bay Street - New Providence
- Carmichael - New Providence
- Fox Hill - New Providence
- JFK Drive - New Providence
- Marathon Mall - New Providence
- Shirley Street - New Providence
- Duncan Town - Ragged Island
- Port Nelson - Rum Cay
- Cockburn Town - San Salvador
- College of the Bahamas - New Providence
Franchise Locations On October 13, 2012, the first BTC franchise location was opened on the island of Grand Bahama in the Britannia Plaza, on Polaris Drive. The Grand Bahama location is owned by Keith Rolle.