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Public access to affordable telecommunications services is to increase substantially in the town of Soufriere thanks to the signing of a contract between the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) and LIME.
As part of its mandate, the NTRC is responsible for managing a Universal Service Fund aimed at supporting the social, educational and economic development of Saint Lucia through the provision of efficient and affordable telecommunications services at community, household and individual levels, particularly in rural and under-served communities and in maritime areas.
LIME was contracted to provide the services after it was successful in winning the tender for the project. The company is now responsible for the provision and expansion of telecommunications services, particularly broadband Internet access, and providing the supporting infrastructure to the Soufriere community. The contract is for $439,110.91.
LIME will build a wireless Internet (WiFi) Network, based on industry-leading Meriki architecture, in Soufriere. The company will also provide 8MBps Direct Internet Access (DIA) a premium managed Internet service, to the Soufriere Access Centre for five years. The provision of WiFi to Soufriere coupled with LIME’s introduction of new and innovative technologies will go a long way in reducing the digital divide in the town and ensure its residents don’t lag behind.
The network is managed by the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre.
NTRC Chairman Jerome Jules Chaiman, said the project is designed to provide education enhancement through ICT, by the provision of affordable broadband services to the Soufriere community in furtherance of the mandate of the Universal Service Fund.
“We are delighted to have LIME as a partner for the implementation of this extremely important project. The goal of Universal Service is to ensure equitable access to all citizens by eliminating the barriers that impede that access, such as our challenging topography, distance, disability and affordability,” he said.
“The Universal Service project will also help to improve the quality of life for vulnerable members of the society and put them on par with the rest of the world.”
Over the years, LIME has been working steadfastly to provide communities in the island’s southwest with increased access to its services in order to keep homes and businesses connected 24/7, especially in the more isolated areas. Following the passage of Hurricane Tomas in 2010 and its subsequent devastation of Soufriere, the company became even more focused on overcoming topographical and other challenges to provide improved connectivity to the district.
As part of its continuing commitment to keeping Saint Lucia’s rural communities connected, LIME introduced landline and Internet services to the community of Bouton in 2009, one of the most isolated villages on the island. In recent years the company also expanded and improved access to its services in Choiseul, Saint Lucia’s largest district.