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Hosting and ISP Facilities
Payment Processing Facilities
Banking Facilities



Hosting and ISP Facilities

Both of the main telecoms providers in Bermuda have opened e-commerce support centres which provide hosting services.

TeleBermuda International opened its centre in December, 1999. The TBI centre is staffed 24 on 7, and provides secure website hosting services for companies wanting to conduct e-commerce from Bermuda; Cable & Wireless shortly afterwards opened its sixth world-wide 'platform' offering web-hosting, e-commerce and other Internet services in Devonshire, Bermuda - the other five centres are in London, Washington, Bahrein, Sydney and Hong Kong.

In April 2001 Cable & Wireless Bermuda launched a service called SoHoConnect, through which users can connect to the Internet quickly and relatively cheaply. C&W described SoHoConnect as a 'dial-up Internet service designed to provide small, medium and home-based businesses with a fast, reliable and cost effective way of connecting to the Internet, 24 hours a day.'

There are a number of other, local companies offering various levels of ISP or hosting facilities. In June 2001, the Bermuda Telecommunications Minister announced a new regime for Internet telephony and broad-band services which seemed to favour the local firms: the two major telecoms companies would be restricted to offering Internet services to business (previously they were restricted to offering their services internationally), while the local firms would have access to long-distance networks to offer various types of Internet service, probably including VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

In April 2001, Internet service provider Logic Communications cut rates on all levels of its dial-up access; internet service in Bermuda was at that time among the most expensive in the world, and many had called for rates to come down. A leading proponent was the then-Telecommunications Minister Renee Webb, who applauded the move by Logic and announced in a statement: "I am pleased to see that this Bermudian company is taking the initiative to provide the local market with quality service and good value at lower prices."

July, 2002 saw the launch of a sixth main Internet Service Provider in Bermuda, when Fort Knox Bermuda introduced FKBnet.

The other general ISPs are Bermuda Computer Services' Transact, North Rock and Logic.

At the press conference to announce the FKBnet service, Ms Webb suggested that the market for ISPs was saturated, a claim which observers suggested absurd given the lack of price competition. Internet users in the country were estimated at 39,000 (2005).


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Payment Processing Facilities

First Atlantic Commerce (FAC), a Bermuda-based payment solutions provider, was established in 1998 to create secure card-based payment solutions for e-businesses.

The company provides powerful technology designed to work with most merchant platforms, including Microsoft®, UNIX, and LINUX. FAC’s processing platform -- a feature-rich payment system called cGate® -- offers service, flexibility and security to adapt to many business and bank acquirer requirements.

Designed for merchants with medium to high capacity transaction processing, cGate® is a high-speed and secure, platform-independent Internet payment gateway.

FAC provides a variety of processing methods including real-time, batch and MOTO. All methods can process sales, authorizations only, captures and refund or reversal transaction types.

Business solutions such as 3-D Secure™ Payer Authentication (Verified by VISA and MasterCard SecureCode™) for chargeback liability shift, Virtual Corporations and multi-currency, multi-jurisdictional, payment solutions are also available.

FAC offers international payment solutions in many jurisdictions across the Latin American Caribbean Region, Europe and Pan Asian Region.

Uniquely positioned to provide MasterCard® and Visa credit card processing across a wide-range of industries ranging from legal online pharmacies to VoIP companies, leading retailers, stored value card providers and travel-related businesses, all FAC solutions are for direct merchant accounts only with various partner banks around the world.

In February, 2002, Bermuda introduced new Government regulations on how companies issue digital certificates for online transactions. Bermudian Telecommunications Minister Renee Webb said they: “represent a significant step forward in the development of e-business in Bermuda. They demonstrate to business internationally that we are a serious jurisdiction for sophisticated e-business”.

The Certification Service Providers (Relevant Criteria and Security Guidelines) Regulations 2002 follow the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) 1999, and deal with the formation of electronic contracts and the validity of digital signatures. The voluntary CSP scheme allows certificate authorities to apply for Government recognition under the ETA.

Quo Vadis, a Bermuda-based digital certificate provider company, was the first company to seek CSP approval. Stephen Davidson, vice-president of marketing for Quo Vadis said: “While the ETA recognises that electronic signatures are legally binding, users may have to prove that the signature is valid unless it was created using an “accredited digital certificate”. Signatures from accredited certificates are automatically accepted as valid and binding.”

Mr. Davidson added: “Quo Vadis is excited to be the first CSP to be accredited by the Bermuda Government. We view this as an important step in the development of e-government and the legally binding use of electronic transactions,” he said.

Ms Webb said: “With the increasing important role that certificates are playing in e-business it is clearly vital that the businesses which issue certificates are competent, honest and technically up to the mark. It is for that reason I decided a scheme to assess their competence was required. The criteria used have been developed with businesses on the Island, but they also have been drawn up to be compatible with those used in other International schemes in both North America and Europe. I firmly believe this will be the first offshore CSP scheme to become recognised by the European Union.”

The Telecommunications Ministry makes a charge of $10,000 per application for a CSP approval, in order to cover the costs of expert investigation of each applicant.

In April 2004, QuoVadis announced that it had been accepted into Microsoft's Root Certificate Program. This means that the firm's public root key will be distributed to all users of Microsoft's Windows operating system, allowing them to utilise digital certificates provided by QuoVadis for encryption, electronic signatures, and access control.

Explaining the reasoning behind the move, Microsoft's general manager in the West Indies and Bermuda, Rick Marcet observed that: "New regulations imposing cyber liability for executives, as well as growing demands for data protection, are driving wide adoption of digital certificates and other forms of security."

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Banking Facilities

The Bermuda Monetary Authority supervises the three Bermudian banks, one of which is owned by HSBC, and which operate a joint clearing system. The three Bermudian banks have expanded throughout the world and have subsidiaries in the major financial centres. They offer a full range of banking services.

The early decision of the Bermuda Government to exclude foreign banks may have owed more to self-interest than to fear of money-laundering or the OECD, but it turns out to have been very successful, leading not only to Bermuda's high reputation but to the establishment of strong, local banks, something that has eluded almost all other IOFCs.

A number of financial advisory and securities firms with foreign involvement have been established in Bermuda, some in connection with the Stock Exchange. There has also been considerable growth in securities trading, much of it based on the Internet, and at least one Internet bank has been launched from Bermuda.

In June, 2002, the Bank of Bermuda announced an enhancement of EasyLink Online, Bermuda’s only real-time online banking service, just over four months after its launch.

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