(Reuters) Verizon Communications Inc has agreed to buy optical fiber from Corning Inc for at least $1.05 billion over the next three years as the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier aims to improve its network infrastructure, the companies said on Tuesday.

Corning will sell up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber to Verizon each year from 2018 through 2020, with a minimum purchase commitment of $1.05 billion, according to the agreement. The announcement sent Corning shares up 2.5 percent to $27.21 in midday trading. Verizon shares rose 3 cents to $48.84.

In a statement, Verizon said the deal would help it meet its rollout schedule for a fiber-optic network in Boston.

The company also views fiber as critical for a next generation, or 5G network. Verizon is testing a 5G fixed wireless service with equipment maker Ericsson in 11 U.S. markets and expects a commercial launch as early as 2018.

Both Verizon and competitor AT&T Inc have been buying assets in preparation for 5G. On Friday, sources told Reuters that Verizon is considering making a buyout offer for wireless spectrum license holder Straight Path Communications Inc that would top AT&T Inc's (T.N) $1.25 billion bid.

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(Trinidad Guardian) The committee set up by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to look at the operations of the state energy company Petrotrin has asked for a six month extension to complete its first report.

The committee, which was appointed in March, was due to report to Dr Rowley on June 1 but have asked to be given until December to finish the task.

Dr Rowley said: “Petrotrin is the major state enterprise and there are so many things going wrong there. This audit is meant to identify these things and make recommendations.”

He assured that the report will be made public and Government will not be hesitate to make decisions which might be unpopular in some quarters.

The seven member committee was set up shortly after Government moved to stave off a strike at Petrotrin. It is chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Selwyn Lashley and includes two representatives from the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU).

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton says the nation's first free college tuition plan approved by New York state lawmakers can be a model for other states and can eventually pave the way for nationwide reforms that were championed by Democrats during the 2016 presidential election.

 

The former Democratic presidential nominee rallied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City for a ceremonial bill signing of the state's new scholarship for poor and middle-class students.

 

"Paying for college should not defer or destroy dreams," Clinton said. "I'm hoping too that Congress will come to its senses and will understand we don't need to be building walls, we need to be building bridges. And the best bridge to the future is a good education."

 

The initiative, called the Excelsior Scholarship, emerged as a key priority for Cuomo this year. It covers tuition at state universities for full-time, in-state students whose families earn $125,000 or less, though students still will pay out of pocket for room, board and other expenses. Recipients also must remain in New York for as many years as they received the benefit and repay the money as a loan if they take a job elsewhere.

 

Clinton, who campaigned on similar proposals for debt-free higher education across the country, hailed New York's plan as a progressive initiative that will attract businesses to the state and convince students to stay. The former U.S. senator from New York also applauded Cuomo, a Democrat who has a longstanding relationship with the Clinton family. Cuomo served as housing secretary in President Bill Clinton's cabinet and is mentioned as a possible contender for the White House in 2020.

 

"The Excelsior Scholarship is going to send a message of hope to countless families," Clinton said. "And I hope it will also send a message to employers that they want to start making plans to come to New York, because New York will provide exactly the kind of workforce that the governor has promised.

Cuomo said Clinton inspired the scholarship during her presidential campaign with the "outrageously ambitious" ''irrefutably smart" vision for college affordability.

 

"It is not a luxury, it is a necessity," Cuomo said. "And if we're not going to have it on the federal level, then we're not going to be denied it in New York."

 

Former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who campaigned heavily on free tuition and introduced similar federal legislation this month, also has congratulated Cuomo for getting the plan approved.

InterCaribbean Airways has added another flight to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, making travel easier for Caribbean nationals without a US Visa.

The new flight will fly to Tortola via Santo Domingo from Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, every Wednesday and Saturday effective May 3.

 

According to the airline, Caribbean passport holders will next month be able to visit BVI, bypassing San Juan or St Thomas as the USA points of entry.

 

The service adds to interCaribbean’s non-stop flights from Beef Island, connected by bridge to Tortola in the BVI, to San Juan and Antigua, allowing increased connectivity for Tortola to Santo Domingo. The company will be engaging the service of a 30-seater Embraer 120 aircraft.

 

“We are happy to be adding another destination to Tortola and removing the obstacles of a Turks & Caicos passport holder in visiting the BVI,” interCaribbean Chief Executive Officer Trevor Sadler said in a release.

 

“Also, for the BVI citizen the ability to visit friends and family in the Turks & Caicos Islands has become so much easier.”

 

As part of regional expansion plans, interCaribbean Airways last year introduced a non-stop weekly service from Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Before that the carrier began offering flights originating from Kingston to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as part of its move to cross-link the Caribbean.

 

According to the company, the flight routes increases the air link offered by the carrier in each direction with “faster flight and improved connections”.

 

 

The interCaribbean airline currently connects passengers to Providenciales, Grand Turk and South Caicos in Turks & Caicos. It also provides connections to Nassau, Bahamas; Puerto Plata, Santiago and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince in Haiti; and Kingston and Montego Bay Jamaica.

(Barbados Today) President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed is calling on the Freundel Stuart administration to “immediately” implement recommendations from the Social Partnership working groups on the foreign exchange reserves and the fiscal deficit.

Warning that Barbados did not have time on its side, the business executive painted a damning picture of the economy, pointing out that with dwindling reserves, high debt, the continued printing of money by the Central Bank to support Government, and very little results from Government’s austerity programmes, the country was going in “the wrong direction”.

He also expressed concern about Government’s funding from the National Insurance Scheme as well as Government arrears to the private sector.

“We are going in the wrong direction with only over-optimistic promises to comfort us,” Abed wrote in the BCCI’s monthly newsletter.

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