Guyana seeking to achieve optimal levels
Minister Within
the Office of the
Prime Minister
Mr. Kwame McCoy
Minister Within the Office of the Prime Minister Mr. Kwame McCoy

— in building digitally integrated knowledge-based society over next decade

GUYANA has impressed upon the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that the government fully intends to honour its commitment to providing Internet connectivity throughout the length and breadth of the country.

The foregoing message was relayed by Minister Within the Office of the Prime Minister Mr. Kwame McCoy during a Ministerial Roundtable themed, ‘Building a better digital future for all’ at the opening of the Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22) currently underway in Bucharest, Romania.

Minister McCoy began by saying, “As part of the process, we are empowering vulnerable sections of the population with the means by which they can access the Internet at personal and community levels.”

He went on to say that in seeking to achieve optimal levels in the building of a digitally integrated knowledge-based society over the next decade, “Our government has launched a campaign to provide free Internet in public spaces, with focus on under-served communities.” He said, too, that as part of the government’s commitment to bridging the digital divide between the coastal and hinterland communities, it has built its satellite ground station to provide connectivity services to over 160 locations in hinterland areas, in the hope of benefitting approximately 60,000 residents living in remote communities across all ten geographic regions of Guyana.

Among services being offered in the hinterland regions, the minister told his colleagues at the meeting, are free landline- to-landline calls to other villages and receiving calls from anywhere in the world. Additionally, those communities have Internet access, including access to Online learning resources and e-services being offered by the Government of Guyana.

But like any other country the world over, he said, Guyana has its fair share of challenges, one of which is its being listed by the United Nations as among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the southern hemisphere to be severely impacted by climate change.

“With our coastline, including our capital city, sitting more than six feet below sea level, the severity and frequency of flooding has increased, and will continue increasing in the coming years,” Minister McCoy said, adding: “As such, the drainage infrastructure which remains manual in nature, poses a major challenge in identifying when flooding may be unavoidable and in reducing the severity of flooding.”

Other challenges include knowing the on-and-off status of infrastructure where the two main methods used are cellular phone calls or physically visiting the sites, as well as there being a heavy reliance on the human element with little to no automation.

In conclusion, Minister McCoy explained that in order to begin the digital transition process, the government recently commissioned a Critical Infrastructure Monitoring Project, the initial phase of which will see the basic monitoring of drainage pumps, and later the monitoring of sluice doors, conservancy water levels, and other critical infrastructure.

“This project,” he said, “is utilising a Low Powered Internet of Things (IOT) network due it the suitable characteristics of the technology.”


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