In an effort to better citizens’ access to internet service, the government will be rolling out a $1.1B programme next year that will see free WiFi being made available at 110 outdoor locations in and around Georgetown.
This was recently revealed by Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes.
She noted, too, that citizens in poor and remote communities are also catered for in this programme. Hughes said that wherever private providers do not offer telecommunication services, the Government is going to fill those gaps with free internet access.
Hughes said, “We are currently providing free internet connectivity to 18 hinterland and indigenous communities, namely: Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, Matthew’s Ridge, Santa Rosa, and Baramita in Region One; Mainstay/Whyaka in Region Two; Orealla in Region Six; Bartica and Waramadong in Region Seven; Mahdia and Paramakatoi in Region Eight; and Iwokrama, Karasabai, Annai, St Ignatius, Sand Creek, Aishalton and Masakenari/Konashen in Region Nine.”
Additionally, Hughes noted that network access is available at government agencies and the Regional Democratic Council offices in some of these communities. In 2019 however, she said that the government will provide internet access to a further 120 indigenous communities, including Chinoweing in Region Seven, Chenapou in Region Eight, and Wowetta in Region Nine.
And that is not all; Minister Hughes noted that many hinterland and poor communities do not have reliable power. As such, from January 2019, the government will provide alternative energy solutions, such as solar power, at ICT Hubs in communities such as Batavia, Region Seven; Micobie, Region Eight; Baramita, Region One; Kabakaburi, Region Two; Orealla, Region Six; and Sand Creek, Region Nine.
The Public Telecommunications Minister said that in implementing President David Granger’s vision, the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) provides free Internet access to over 12,000 users monthly in remote and underdeveloped communities countrywide. Up to November 30, 2018, she noted that the government operationalised 131 ICT hubs. In 2019, the Authority has identified locations for additional hubs to benefit another 50,000 citizens.