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Islandwide internet project underway

By Anicia Antoine, GIS

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(GIS) – The installation phase of the Government Islandwide Network (GINet) project commenced with a cheque presentation to Saint Lucia from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Taiwan contributed the sum of US$ 3.28 million to the project, with the Government of Saint Lucia providing the remaining US$720,000, to meet the estimated project cost of US$ 4 million.

The Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Douglas Shen, noted that the aim is to enhance the internet penetration rate on the island.

“This project was commenced in the year 2015 with a budget of US$4 million and the aim to enhance internet penetration in Saint Lucia by developing wireless network systems,” he said. “Sixty-three Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed in 33 locations in five districts. These are Castries, Dennery, Micoud, Vieux-Fort and Canaries. Today we are here for an important milestone, I am more than happy to announce that the planning and the design phase of the GINet project have been completed, and the basic training session has been conducted as well. Taiwan is one of the leading countries in the world of overall free Wi-Fi on a large scale to its citizens and for its tourists. We are willing to share our technology and our developing experience with Saint Lucia.”

Prime Minster Hon. Allen Chastanet explained that the project aims to help develop overall internet use by local businesses, citizens, and tourists.

“The 2010 Population of Housing Census indicated that internet penetration was only 43 percent of persons having access, residing in Castries and Gros- Islet. This raised questions related to the digital divide which existed and placed some communities at a great disadvantage in this era where internet access is becoming more essential to our survival. So if we’re going to be talking about equity for all and access for all, it starts with internet. How many young, potential future business people are coming from the rural areas, and are disadvantaged by the fact that they cannot have access to internet. If we’re going to be changing our curriculum, clearly the curriculum is going to be much more online training and access so, a key component of that is having internet access.”

The cheque presentation for the installation phase of the Government Islandwide Network (GINet) took place on Jan. 23, at the Office of the Prime Minister.

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