Competition is now bringing improvements in the provision of telecommunications services to Jersey. Leading the way is Cable & Wireless, which is investing GBP30m in new technology and services to revolutionise communications in the Channel Islands, notably the delivery of a global network to support companies locating in Jersey. Competition brings more choice, more innovative communications solutions as providers seek to differentiate their service offerings, and downward pressure on pricing, which entails more efficient use of resources. Jersey's reputation as a business centre is benefiting as competition from Cable & Wireless ends one of the last mobile telephony monopolies in western Europe. The pressure is on providers to demonstrate their ability to support companies' business development plans.
The financial services industry in Jersey requires increasingly sophisticated telecoms solutions. Access to financial markets depends on communications with global reach and reliability, enabling information to be shared and transactions with customers to be conducted internationally. As the diversity of information and transactions channels grows, companies are choosing telecoms providers according to performance rather than promise, with network reach and availability the critical measures. Cable & Wireless brings to this challenge its experience in financial centres such as London, Hong Kong, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
The Cable & Wireless infrastructure extends to Jersey through project HUGO, a cutting-edge technology and cable solution connecting Jersey and Guernsey directly into the global communications network. The island's financial services companies can now order and manage telecoms services for any part of their global network using a single point of contact.
As companies extend corporate network access to customers, partners and suppliers, and across various mobile and online devices, security of data is vital. Opening up networks raises the threat of hackers, viruses and other malicious attacks, but constraining network access can be a major competitive disadvantage, since e-commerce, supply chain management, collaborative working and information exchange often require access at all levels of the organisation.
Cable & Wireless's solutions for corporate customers include defences against distributed denial of service attacks. Equipment on the global internet backbone can detect attacks and block illegitimate traffic, while allowing the flow of legitimate transactions to continue and the web site to remain operational.
The company operates one of the fastest, most reliable and most extensive internet backbones and hosting facilities in the world, connecting 70 countries and the world's major business centres. It allows companies to serve a global customer base and execute transactions securely by internet and phone. A single infrastructure carrying voice, data and video achieves economies of scale, reduces network costs and facilitates integrated applications that boost efficiency and enhance customer service, such as full computer telephony integration to the desktop alongside unified messaging and advanced audio and video conferencing. This is the major benefit of convergence technology. For today's financial services industry, telecommunications supplied as a product add little value. A strategic partnership that delivers real value relies on deep industry expertise and understanding of the challenges faced by IT managers today. In Jersey, such a partnership is a reality.
By Steve Eldridge, marketing services manager with Cable & Wireless in the Channel Islands