As part of a comprehensive plan to build out an affordable and reliable network of seamless international telephonic and internet services across the Caribbean island nations, Alton Worldwide’s Paul Pereira launched NetServ Global in 1998.
NetServ was designed to function as an offshoot of InterServ, his successful 1997 venture that effectively broke the monopoly that Cable and Wireless (C & W) had held over the region’s telecommunications industry for decades.
The NetServ concept was founded upon the ability of Pereira to leverage the telecom infrastructure he’d built in Trinidad with his Miami-based NOC (Network Operations Center), VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet Provider) technology, and an algorithm for satellite latency that enabled use of satellite rather than terrestrial broadcast technology for communications.
Soon after establishing NetServ, Pereira introduced a plan to create business contact centers throughout the Caribbean. The plan for NetServ call centers included two primary objectives:
- To create tech and communications training programs and employment opportunities for tens of thousands of island citizens in low-tech nations with notoriously high unemployment and give then a skill that they can take anywhere.
- To offer sophisticated telemarketing and customer service call centers that were more cost effective for international businesses than similar operations in industrialized countries like the U.S. and consequently “creating minutes” on his own networks whilst providing offshore services.
After working with the government of Grenada to successfully open two call centers in the year 2000 – Chooze.com and Greenville One – Pereira was invited to Jamaica to pitch similar plans for a third NetServ contact center in Kingston.
By partnering with U.S. based tech companies, like NEC and Active Link and McKinsey Consulting Firm in the US, working with Jamaican opportunity programs like HEART, and procuring government INTEC funds via NIBJ (National Investment Bank of Jamaica), Pereira and his team set to work creating a Jamaican based telemarketing and customer service call center similar to those established in Grenada.
The launch of NetServ-Jamaica was on track in August 2001. A call center location was successfully acquired and furnished. Predictive dialers were installed. Communications lines were networked. The first round of several hundred employees were hired, trained, and put to work.
During July 7 through 10 of 2001, accusations against police for human right violations during the riots in Jamaica created political upheaval, which led to devastating effects.
Two months later, the September 11 attacks on the U.S. changed the world.
The economic repercussions of both events created a tropical depression of sorts, with NetServ and many other startup I.T.’s in the region trapped in the void.
The global financial slump that defined the months following the World Trade Center collapse, combined with concerns about instability on the island of Jamaica, caused contracts for call center services from international companies to severely slow down and financing to dry up.
NetServ remained on track to accomplish its three-year startup objectives despite other forces at work, including the political propaganda of an election year and fierce competition for telecom licenses on the island.
On December 11, 2001, just three months after 9/11, the Jamaican government launched investigations into its own due diligence practices as related to the INTEC funding and thus with this forced NetServ-Jamaica into receivership.
Ensuing Audits fully Exonerated Pereira and Validated NetServ-Jamaica’s Proper use of Funds.
However, to protect shareholders and the company’s intellectual property rights for NetServ technology, Pereira pursued Chapter 7 bankruptcy for NetServ Global and successfully won the intellectual property battle.
NetServ-Jamaica was eventually sold to TouchPoint-Jamaica, a company that in 2005 suffered a similar political fate and is no longer in existence.
The Miami operations of NetServ Global, meanwhile, grew into a full-fledged NOC with an FCC license as an international carrier.
Though NetServ-Jamaica fell prey to the fallout that often follows unforeseen tragedy, Pereira had successfully changed the course of a 40 year old telecom monopoly and paved the way for others to follow and subsequently was able to carry the spirit of the effort, and knowledge born of experience, into other successful global enterprises designed to boost developing nations into the realm of 21st century technology.