Govt to roll out Internet access to hinterland communities
Guyanese living in the hinterland regions would soon be able to come up to par with those on the coastland in terms of technology, as Government has committed to making Internet access readily available for them in the not too distant future.
It is hoped that the new initiative, which made its kick start on Friday with the signing of contracts, would also put Guyana on the path of technological growth.
Government, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), entered into what is said was a crucial agreement with the consultancy firm of Detecon International, to conduct a needs assessment for the project which will be rolled out in remote communities.
Telecommunication Minister Cathy Hughes, UNDP Resident Representative Kadija Musa and Detecon representative Stephen Dieter signed the project, which will be funded by the Guyana Redd+ Investment Fund.
Minister Hughes said Guyana has for many years been lagging behind the rest of the world, and even the Caribbean, technologically.
The project is a baseline study to determine, among other things, what infrastructure, technical capacity and legal framework already exists and what is needed in poor, remote and unnerved areas in Guyana. The analysis will also set the stage for a more expansive programme.
“This project has a very unique and specific target audience and that is the provision of ICT access to hinterland, poor and remote communities”. Minister Hughes said it is widely known that what occurs on the coast and the hinterland regions vary vastly, especially in areas of education, ecommerce and commerce development, adding that hinterland communities have not been able to be on par.
According to Minister Hughes, with the project getting underway, hinterland residents; particularly those who are carrying local businesses, will have a wider scope through the Internet to market their products.
UNDP Resident Representative Khadija Musa said the UNDP responded to a request made by the Guyana Government to lend its support in the procurement process for the project.
Musa said ICT remains an important technology which will bring the people of Guyana together. She informed that the UNDP conducted a competitive international bidding process. It was through this process that the consultancy firm, Detecon, was successful. The evaluation panel, she said, consisted of technical experts, including UNDP and Government.
Representative of Detecon, Stephen Dieter said his company was willing to work with Guyana to bring the country to that competitive platform.
The team carrying out the consultancy will be led by German, Stephan Dieter. The firm won the bid to conduct the baseline study for the projects which stands at a cost of some US$534,000.