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Liberty Mobile Moves To Acquire Broadband VI In Territory

SAN JUAN — With its acquisition of AT&T wireless operations in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico complete, Liberty Latin America is targeting another local communications company, Broadband VI.

Pending regulatory approvals, Liberty Latin America announced this week its agreement to acquire Broadband VI, a fixed wireless internet provider in the Virgin Islands.

In the press release announcing the acquisition, Liberty said it hopes to enhance the position of the Virgin Islands as a technology hub, drive economic growth, expand tourism and create jobs.

“We continue our growth in the region, meeting our commitment to provide greater connectivity and socioeconomic development in the Virgin Islands,” said Naji Khoury, CEO of Liberty Mobile USVI, in a statement.

“By bringing our two companies together, we will deploy the best fixed internet network and unite it with the best mobile network in the USVI, thus creating more value for customers in the territory,” Khoury said.

“Meeting the USVI’s growing need for resilient high-speed connectivity has been Broadband VI’s primary focus,” said CEO Bill Neville. “Joining with Liberty accelerates this mission through added investment, new products and services, and will deliver a world-class broadband infrastructure that will foster job creation and bring new benefits to the territory.”

The Broadband VI acquisition follows that of AT&T in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which joined Liberty in 2020 and is currently operating under a cobranding agreement. With the acquisition of those operations, Liberty now serves at least one million mobile customers, has a workforce of more than 2,200 employees and operates a call center in Puerto Rico with bilingual customer service representatives.

In announcing the purchase, Liberty promised to maintain Broadband VI’s labor force throughout the territory.

Post-merger plans include identifying opportunities to strengthen the network’s resilience and reliability, plus competitive offers for residential and business customers, according to the announcement.

To achieve this, Liberty and Broadband VI will bury a significant portion of the fiber optic network within six years.

“Fiber is the most energy efficient broadband technology,” Khoury explained. “Fiber is also less dependent upon the electric power grid and it can be more resistant to power outages.”

According to Khoury, the transaction and the investment in new fiber will generate jobs as the company invests tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure.

While not guaranteeing it will lower prices, the businesses said the merger will deliver better service, higher speeds and better value for consumers.

Liberty will continue Broadband VI’s participation in the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect USVI Fund and Khoury also said Liberty will expand its commitment to give back to the territory through the company’s nonprofit arm, Liberty Foundation.

Liberty Mobile USVI is a subsidiary of Liberty Latin America, which operates in more than 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean under a variety of brands that include Cable &Wireless, Flow, Liberty Mobile and BTC.

In 2019, Broadband VI was the acquirer as it scooped up the Virgin Islands assets of Surge Broadband.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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