Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus International Inc. (Columbus) today announced a ground-breaking customer charter that will guide how the new company would operate following the approval and closing of their merger.

In listing a suite of commitments, CWC's CEO Phil Bentley said that the new company plans to revolutionize telecommunications across the Caribbean. Newco will invest US$400M to expand its broadband infrastructure, with Bentley noting, "this merger will result in the most extensive fibre infrastructure ever constructed in the region, providing wider access to all, specifically targeting low income households. We will ensure that all our customers have affordable access, while also providing industry leading 1 Gb/s broadband speeds for those customers who want an unparalleled online experience".

Bentley also pledged that the new company formed from the merger of CWC/Columbus would create more than 500 jobs between now and 2019 through growth in its services and by reviewing current outsourcing arrangements. "We will enhance the quality of our customers' experience, as we invest in jobs closer to our Caribbean customers, "he said.

In giving customers more choices, the new company will become the leading regional supporter of net neutrality and provide full access to legal 'over-the-top' (OTT) services. The company also re-affirmed its commitment for Local Number Portability (LNP), which will enable customers to exercise the freedom of keeping their telephone numbers, should they choose to switch operators. "We are keen to facilitate consumer choice - it's our customers who define service excellence - and the freedom to access OTT services and to port mobile or fixed line telephone numbers is a key element of our strategy." Bentley said.

With the introduction of a 'no-contract' service offering, customers will have the ability to transfer landline, video and broadband services at any time, to any provider. Columbus CEO Brendan Paddick indicated "our job is to keep our customers satisfied, and if we do not deliver an exceptional experience, we can't expect their patronage. You can't contract customer loyalty - you have to earn it".

Bentley indicated that "with these commitments, our proposed merger will bring huge benefits to the region - creating jobs, providing customers with superior broadband access, and transforming our customer experience – underpinned by service excellence and innovation. We are forming a new company, with a new leadership and a new culture, putting our customers at the heart of our business." (CWC/Columbus Release)