US$17M project to connect poor, remote areas

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The Ministry of Public Telecommunications will be rolling out a US$17M initiative which is aimed at providing internet connectivity and access to government services via the internet to poor, remote and hinterland communities.

This five-year project, which began on December 1, 2017, is being funded by GRIF for activities identified under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

The initiative is being executed by the National Data Management Authority in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Authority’s Chairman Floyd Levi told a news conference on Monday, January 22, 2018, that the project can see the establishment of more than 200 information communication technology hubs and online application forms for basic government services.

“Online application forms part of the initial set of e-services we would like to deploy. Very importantly, our focus is developing online application forms that would at least allow citizens to start their application process from the comfort of their own homes and not necessarily have to come to a government office to start the process,” Levi said.

Levi said the overall intention is to create a seamless and secure information sharing network among government agencies.

With such a framework in place, an agency in a remote location can access critical information through a digital network from an office in Georgetown.

Apart from this project, the Government began its own campaign to improve internet connectivity across the country with the establishment of 78 ICT hubs along the coast and 18 in hinterland areas.

Additionally, the Government has connected close to 100 government agencies and ministries with internet which will facilitate the information sharing process.

It is expected that this project will impact more than 500,000 citizens in at least 90% of the hinterland, poor and remote communities.

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