Residents of Lethem and surrounding communities can expect faster internet connectivity in a matter of weeks, with the installation of an LTE tower in the region.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), General Manager of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi along with Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes visited the LTE tower in Lethem, Upper-Takatu, Upper-Essequibo, Region 9 recently.
Levi explained that the tower’s infrastructure was part of the failed $1.3B fibre optic cable project which was started by the previous administration. According to the NDMA General Manager, the site was abandoned in 2014. He said in 2016, a site assessment was conducted, and several options explored.
“The option that worked for us was to actually use this site… We actually refurbished it and brought it back to work,” he stated.
He disclosed that with the recent repairs done, communities located as far as in the “foothills” of the Kanuku Mountain range would be able to access the service.
Some of the communities include Parikuarinow, Kumu, Moco Moco and Hiowa.
Levi expressed hope that the works will be completed within three weeks.
All government agencies in the township inclusive of the hospital, library and St. Ignatius Secondary School will be connected.
Minister Hughes and her team also visited the Lethem Regional Hospital, where the telemedicine initiative is expected to be implemented shortly.
The hospital already has internet connectivity which affords the doctors the opportunity to communicate with other sub-districts.
Region 9’s Regional Health Officer, Dr. Nial Uthman commended the e-governance service at the hospital. He deemed the service as very essential as it relates to the transfer of patients and updates of a patient’s status.
A similar telemedicine service is implemented in the village of Orealla. This allows doctors and healthcare providers at the Orealla Health Centre to have direct video communication with central hospitals such as the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital and other hinterland health centres.
Currently, Lethem’s internet speed ranges between 2nd Generation (2G) and 3rd Generation (3G).