Friday, July 17, 2009


* Belize Telecommunications woes!


In any pioneering country like Belize, building up the economy relies on new businesses. Business in turn relies on the government to encourage and make infra-structure. The last time we tried the FINANCIAL CENTER business was 15 or 16 years ago and it failed, due to lack of reliable telephone communications. We moved to Miami for some years to be able to do it.
Right now we are doing the feasibility stage of a 90 day trial period and dealing with the logistics of attempting to establish another try at a FINANCIAL CENTER. Like all new ventures, there are restrictions of capital, many sorts of different problems, like trading systems to use, trial and error experiments paper trading, to weed out losses due to whip saws and DRAWDOWNS. Perfecting a system takes some time of real time endeavors. We are going through that right now, by driving into the TWIN TOWNS twice a day and using a paid internet cafĂ©. For the financial center we are going to need a telephone service from the desk. Not a cell phone from SMART ( you cannot get any signal from BTL ) Currently we telephone by going out on the street and climbing the hill a bit and hope we don’t lose the signal. We get cut off regularly and lose the SMART cell phone signal, so this is not workable. We are struggling to figure out if we could maybe use the internet to telephone for each trade? We need about 3 calls to Chicago Exchange floor, for each trade made. At the moment, even internet is not available, but we have been having BTL promises for those 16 years and haven’t got it yet. So we decided finally we must go SATELLITE. Now we start researching those with HUGHES SATELLITE and we are wondering if it will work at all?
What we find is that the older 6000 and 7000 satellite Hughes series are obsolete and the bandwidth is oversold and so the reception speeds are slower than a DIAL UP in the USA. We need DSL speeds and bandwidth. HUGHES have a new 9000 modem, so I don’t know if that will improve things, if the same satellites are being used? There is a new system on the internet, forget the name, BLUE something or other for $100 usa. Dish and modem receiver, broadband. Supposed to be superior, so we are investigating that, through my daughter in Florida.
We need download DSL really, as the data feeds are changing by seconds, and monitor screens are being refreshed several times a minute. If we spend an extra $200 usa a month for REAL TIME data instead of DELAYED 15 minute data which is FREE, can the satellite systems keep up with it, is the question? The satellite forums are full of complaints of HUGHES satellite, but locally Belizeans are swearing by the satellite system. Of course for email, or text, or slow browsing, that may be adequate. Don’t know enough to judge just yet.
Anyway, equipment and telecommunications and electricity reliability are key components of our new business venture, a repeat of one we did 15 or 16 years ago, which failed due to lack of infra structure, mostly telecommunications service. We can if we go ahead buy a generator to run the place in an emergency, if BEL the electricity supplier cuts us off. Nothing worse than being cut off when you have contracts outstanding, changing $500 a minute in value and you are flying blind. We can get around some of this by going to longer trading time frames, though there are lots of trade opportunities that are only one day in scope for a quick score.
Tried that a couple of times this week, but the internet cafes are not opening in the TWIN TOWNS until after 9 a.m. and the markets are open on the exchanges at 8 a.m. local time. I need to be on the internet at 7:30 a.m. getting orders prepared for ACTION. Can’t do it, unless I have my own place. Which means I need reliable and fast internet and telephone. On the phone calls from the time of decision, to time of implementation, you should be able to phone the floor in Chicago and get the guy there, to fill out your order and fill it, ( MARKET ORDER ) inside 3 minutes total. By that time, prices can have changed a few hundred dollars anyway. Exits are easier, as one can use pre-set limit sell orders. This is not true of Spread Trading, but that is another story.
Anyway, these are the problems we are wrestling with here in Santa Elena Town of Western Belize, of which we have CABLE TV, but no DSL internet service and no telephone service, except a sort of spotty questionable SMART cell phone thingy, that you can never rely on. Before you ask it, the CABLE company says no, they have the wrong sized cable to run internet, or telephone service. We are a quarter mile from the BTL trunk line along the Western Highway, which they tell me is overloaded anyway for years now.
LOGISTICS in any new venture are always a problem, which is what separates the entrepreneur business person from the salaried mind set person. I’m going to have to locate somebody with a satellite system soon, and try a day, getting data feeds ad making hypothetical trades with what speed is available to see if it will work and otherwise devise different strategies to deal with the problem. Lot of fun, but I’m getting more gloomy about the long term prospects by the minute.

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