-hinterland communities, more public institutions to be targeted
APPROXIMATELY $1.3 billion has been allocated for the development of Guyana’s Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector, which will include a national ICT policy, the expansion of the government fibre optic cable by an additional 115km, and grants for ICT hubs in 167 communities.
The government is also working on developing data protection legislation and the establishment of a Guyana National Cyber Incident Response Team, and a related Security Operations Centre, as measures geared at protecting the government’s eServices, including citizen data, from external threats such as phishing and other forms of cybercrime.
These disclosures were made on Wednesday by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, who emphasised the government’s commitment to ICT development. He was, at the time, presenting the 2022 budget to the National Assembly.
“Our government is committed to improving ICT literacy such that the employability and productivity of our population are improved. In 2021 alone, over 1,300 young people benefitted from training in areas ranging from word processing to robotics, networking and programming, and we are targeting another 3,000 beneficiaries this year, including via such events as innovation and coding camps,” Dr. Singh shared.
Dr. Singh noted that in 2021, the government’s network infrastructure was improved with the addition of 30km of fibre optic cable together with expanded LTE coverage across communities in the lower East Bank area and Bartica.
Also in 2021, the government provided 451 new service connections to public institutions and increased the public WIFI bandwidth to 200mbps at 139 sites, while several hinterland communities benefitted from the installation of 35 IP phone services which provided free calls between villages, government agencies and local landlines, for 16,300 persons.
Grants were also released to 33 communities for the retrofitting/rehabilitation of facilities to accommodate ICT hubs.
The government now plans to further build on and expand all of these initiatives in 2022.
“Government will continue delivering on its promise to increase connectivity by providing 100 new service connections for additional schools, hospitals and other public institutions.
Approximately 200 hinterland communities are expected to benefit from the deployment of VSAT equipment to facilitate connectivity, for the first time in many instances,” Dr. Singh said.
The 167 communities slated to benefit from grants to create ICT hubs will also be getting 400 laptops to outfit those facilities. The 115km expansion of the government fibre optic cable network will deliver additional services to over 50 communities.