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Govt to increase internet penetration through GiNet Project

Press release

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PRESS RELEASE – The St. Lucian citizenry and visitors to our shores are to benefit from a US$4 million Government Island-Wide Network Project (GINET), aimed at  improving the urban and rural digital divide and low internet penetration rate.

The five districts that will be targeted during the first phase of the GINET project are: Castries, Canaries, Dennery, Micoudand Vieux-Fort, where the necessary infrastructure will be placed in key public areas such as schools, community parks, and tourist attraction sites.

During the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the GINET project earlier this week, Ambassador of the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), His Excellency James Chang, disclosed that his government would be contributing US$3.28 million dollars towards the GiNet project.

“I believe that this project will be important to the socio-economic well- being of these communities.  The general public, tourists and business passengers, will be able to use wireless local area network–WLAN, in public areas such as government agencies, schools, and the rural areas. A total of seventy Wi-Fi spots will be established,” said His Excellency James Chang.

The GINET Project will be executed over fouryears,   2015-2018, and although the goal is to increase internet penetration from eleven per cent to thirty per cent over that period, the Government of Saint Lucia will be embarking on several other initiatives that could realize a fifty per cent internet penetration rate.

Minister for Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology Senator Dr. James Fletcher believes that the implementation of the GiNet project will also facilitate the expanded and decentralized delivery of government services.

“We cannot be asking   our people to move into the digital age; we cannot be making more government services available to them online; we cannot be telling them that they need to access the wealth of education and other business opportunities that are available on the internet and not provide them with the tools, with the services, with the infrastructure to make this happen; and that is why we very diligently set to increase the rate of internet penetration,” Dr. Fletcher added.

Dr. Fletcher has described the GiNet project as “the most monumental of all the ICT projects to date”.  He noted that this latest contribution by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a manifestation of its commitmentto the Government of Saint Lucia’s   ICT programme.

It is the intention of the Government of Saint Lucia,   in the near future, to use other resources at its disposal such as, the Universal Service Grant, to bridge the digital gap in other communities on the island. As such, the next phase of the GiNet project will be extended to Laborie, Choiseul, Dennery North, and Vieux Fort North.

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7 comments

  1. I think this is an ill-conceived plan. All we need is access to internet in a few strategic points. Upgrade the systems within the schools, at the libraries around and at one/two other public spaces.

    Like an earlier commentator I believe this will have an adverse impact on telecom industry. The minister was making a case against monopoly in the industry but such a policy is going to push us back to square one. It is already difficult for those companies around to remain profitable in the current environment- given the critical mass and already competition from free apps and software. You can't make companies stay if the business is not profitable. So I predict we may be back at one provider soon.

    Additionally, there is nothing to suggest if you increase wi-fi range Lucians would be more productive and competitive. It might have the opposite effect. Lucians already waste so much time online doing nothing... Free wifi everywhere...I don't see it helping!

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  2. A few well equip (including professional supervision)IT centers, in rural or needed areas, will bridge the digital gap.

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    • Are you suggesting that we in Saint Lucia make our people and children less competitive in this digital world, just to protect internet providers who make billions of dollars?
      Do you think that perhaps this would allow for the working poor in saint Lucia to access the internet. School kids whose parents cannot afford an internet connection at home ca use this facility. Come on please think country not entity! upliftment of country and by extension our people, should always come first. Support the project for the sake of our people and country!!!

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      • I said affecting the economy. Its about jobs for OUR children. Not about protecting the ISP. Won't you admit that the internet can do as much harm as good? Don't you know that your phone with internet has become a television?

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  3. Why so much money? What would be the difference if router and extender are used. How big are our Parks and schools? Government doesn't know how much the internet can affect our economy? very soon (within 2 years) we will not need cable providers. We are now seeing the effect it is having on our telecommunication provide with magicJack, Whatsup etc. Another concern which might sound silly is the use of internet by under age kids without supervision. I am not just talking about the laptop but the android cellphones. Just Imaging the amount of people who will frequent these area to make their whats up local calls. Won't need "data" just little minutes. Less money to the providers and a few staff will be sent home. Don't take me wrong, internet is good. I just hope goverment is not using this internet thing as a political tool. Who say the tourist need internet? Isn't it available at the hotels and cruise ship.Don't you think that they would need a break from technology whilst in the park enjoying nature. Again I promise you that very soon our cable providers will be out of service. Already we have KODI (XBMC) which is nothing compared to things to come. All they use is INTERNET and we will be getting it for free.

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