Public Telecommunications Minister, Catherine Hughes has disclosed that before the end of 2018, Region One (Barima-Waini), Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) are expected to have internet access.
According to a release from the Department of Public Information (DPI) Minister Hughes today said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hubs were not established in those three regions due to their remoteness, however, she noted that it is the goal of the Ministry to provide communities there with a level of access before the close of the year.
“Unfortunately, they are areas that the private sector has not seen it financially viable to provide service in those areas and therefore we’ve committed that the Government will come in and provide more services… For us the agenda was, we wanted to start this process [development of ICT hubs], we want to move rapidly and therefore it was easier to start along the Coastal Plain and other areas where there was a facility and other opportunities to bring the technology to the people,” the Minister explained.
She added that taking internet access to these three regions will require a little more planning and more funding, but “we made a commitment that we’re going to get there.”
The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) has established approximately 86 ICT Hubs (and counting) in communities and villages in all the other administrative regions, which are equipped with computers donated by Government and provide nearly 200,000 citizens with access to the net.
Further, Hughes reiterated Government’s broader objective of bridging the digital divide with ICT hubs as the gateway to this achievement, “We believe that the use of ICT can promote development [and] transparency.”
She pointed to the fact that there are pockets of the population who cannot afford to have DSL or even a phone line in their homes and communities. “The ICT hub was a way to get around that, that we can look at a safe space within a community and say look, we want people in this community to be able to access the internet,” Minister Hughes noted.
Realising the requirements of agencies such as the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to have students submit their projects and School-Based Assessments (SBAs) presented online, connectivity throughout Guyana became an important mandate of the Administration.
Additionally, the Public Telecommunications Ministry in collaboration with the Education Ministry will be installing educational programmes on the computers, with assistance from BrainStreet Learning.