Internet access available to all schools by September
May 20, 2011
Internet access available to all schools by September

By the start of the academic year beginning September, 2011, all 107 educational institutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be equipped with Hi-Speed Wireless Internet service.{{more}}

This assurance was given by Universal Service Fund (USF) administrator at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) Kyron Duncan.

Duncan was on Tuesday addressing a gathering at the Fancy Government School as part of an awareness drive of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) put on by officials in the Office of the Prime Minister, Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Special Projects to celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on May, 17.

Duncan, in his address, said in 2010, as part of its operating plan for that year, they highlighted the need for Hi-Speed Internet access to all institutions.

Duncan said the USF, which was established in 2008, is to encourage efficient access and use of telecommunications network and services throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines, with special focus on rural and under served areas, such as Fancy.

Over the past two years, Duncan said the NTRC has been carrying out studies, collecting data and identifying telecommunication gaps which exist in the country. He said public consultations have been also held to get a feedback from the public on telecommunication issues affecting various villages.

Emerging from those consultations, a comprehensive plan was then developed and a project was conceptualised to bridge those gaps. With the assistance of the The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and other stakeholders, the NTRC provided the necessary project details and documents, and after a competitive tender process, telecommunications company LIME was selected to execute the project, which will see free wireless Internet access to 28 different locations throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The project will be implemented at a total cost of $427,608.98. $250,000 of that total will be used for maintenance of the equipment over the next five years. The remaining $170,000 will be used to purchase and install hardware and software necessary to allow these services.

Some of the locations other than schools include: the 13 learning resources centres throughout SVG, the Redemption Sharpes Community Centre, the Chapmans Village Community Centre; two community resource Internet centres run by the Ministry of National Mobilisation; the Salvation Army headquarters in Kingstown, and two Gold Year activity centres run by the National Insurance Services (NIS).

Duncan urged persons using these facilities to take care of them as money is being used to maintain them.(KW)