Ministry of Public Telecommunications Achievements in 2017

There is no doubt that ICT has become the main ingredient for development all over the world. This Ministry is working at a relatively fast pace towards a new ICT industry in Guyana. Our priorities are:

1) To set up our young citizens to play active roles in their own lives

2) to develop a brand new tech-based industry in Guyana, and

3) to encourage our technical skills to develop new applications that will resolve many of our societal and administrative difficulties in town and country

2017 was a hectic year for us. We still face many challenges, some of which are much older than this Government. By and large, we have achieved most of the benchmarks we had set ourselves.

Achievements in 2017…

Restructured the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) and merged it with our project execution arm – the eGovernment Unit. The main goal is to develop Guyana into a technology-led society for both citizens and the whole of Government. 

Utilizing the national ICT network to bring internet access to citizens; this is an ongoing project and to date, we have provided free internet access to:-

  • 98 government ministries and agencies
    •  106 Secondary schools in all 10 Regions as at December 2017
  • The 3 campuses of the University of Guyana
  • The Cyril Potter College of Education
  • Over 64 technical/vocational institutions including the Carnegie School of Home Economics
  • Regional Executive and Education Offices
  • 53 LTE sites and the Data Center
  • Public hospitals and airports
  • The Guyana Police Force, the GRA, GPL, GDF and other service organisations that are now connected to each other via 23 virtual private networks

 

  • Our indigenous brothers and sisters were not left out in 2017. Now with free internet access in about 70 villages, they can sell their hammocks, tomato ketchup, cassareep, cassava bread, tourism services, and the wealth of indigenous products online.
  • We have provided Wifi equipment at the Bina Hill Educational Institute, St. Ignatius and about 12 other high schools interior regions.
  • The NDMA set up 79 ICT Hubs in communities and villages in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and  The hubs are all equipped with computers donated by Government, and they provide nearly 200,000 citizens with access to the Internet.  In 2017, 10 new hubs were commissioned in Berbice alone, and 9 in Linden town.
  • We have now completed construction of our Center for Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) with support from the Government of India, to the tune of 70 Million dollars. This Center is located on the Turkeyen campus, and it will be commissioned in this quarter of 2018.   This Centre of Excellence in IT will bridge the gap between academia and industry.
  • In 2018, the NDMA is spearheading the National Broadband Expansion project. This project will take the physical fibre optic and LTE networks from the Coastland into the Hinterland regions.

 

But, while we waited for this nationwide project to start, in 2017 we made arrangements with Digicel and Imon Wireless Solutions to provide private lease-circuit services.  So far, these agreements have provided internet services to:

Linden, Bartica, Kwakwani, Mahdia, Port Kaituma, Santa Rosa, Matthew’s Ridge, Baramita and Mabaruma

Plus satellite services to 9 hinterland locations – Waramadong, Masakenari, Aishalton, Annai, St. Ignatius, Iwokrama, Sand Creek, Karasabai, and Paramakatoi.

  • We will continue to work closely with the young app developers, programmers, web designers and other skilled IT technicians and young entrepreneurs who have emerged from the MOPT’s Hackathons and Codesprints that we conducted in 2016 and 2017. I have to mention a few of them:

 

IntellectStorm – The developers of www.directory.gy, an app that provides directions to events and other locations in Georgetown.  They also developed www.payments.gy, an app that allows users to pay for commodities online using GTT’s Mobile Money service.

Then there’s Version 75 – the winner of the 2016 Hackathon.  They’ve developed an app that will allow citizens to electronically alert relevant authorities to occurrences in their communities, e.g. crime, damaged roads, burst water mains, power outages, etc.

InnoSys – The winners of the 2017 CodeSprint who are now refining an online Agricultural Commodities Trading Exchange to match buyers and sellers of agricultural products.  This software is going to make business to business, and farmer to buyer transactions so easy.  Innosys also won the 2017 Hackathon with a Tax Collection and Payments app specifically for Neighbourhood Democratic Councils.

Two other young companies developed local versions of Uber for Guyana.  People can book taxis locally via their mobile phones.

WeOwnSpace is another local ICT enterprise that was launched in collaboration with this Ministry.

All of these enterprises emerged as a result of MOPT’s enabling programmes, and out of the young people’s will to succeed.  They are the precursors to the vibrant private sector ICT industry that we are creating. 

 

OUR WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2018 IS PACKED

  1. ICT Access for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities project

Based on a very detailed survey in 2016, we designed a 5-year project to take the Internet and Government’s e-Services to our Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities.  This 17 Million US Dollar project is being funded under the Guyana/Norway Agreement by the GRIF fund, and it will be managed by the UNDP.

Over 89,000 residents in approximately 170 communities will have access to more than 200 ICT hubs to be created over the 5-year period.  They will also have access to public eServices such as filing tax returns and applying for business compliance certificates.

  1. This year’s budget provides $50 Million for new solar power for the hinterland ICT hubs; $15 Million to procure more fibre optic cables, $16 Million for more Internet Access Points, and $20 Million for power redundancy at our Data Centre.
  1. In addition, Government has allocated 700 Million dollars to purchase the required additional Internet bandwidth and satellite services to broaden our ICT deliverables in 2018. These new interventions include:
  • The NATIONAL BROADBAND PROJECT: This is an estimated US$37.6M project to begin in the latter half of 2018.  This project will upgrade the eGovernment Network to enable equitable delivery of services to citizens in the areas of education, health, security, government administration, business, citizenship and immigration.
  • NATIONAL ICT STRATEGY: This 10-year strategy is based on two fundamental pillars:- a) The growth of ICT as an independent sector, and b) Its application as a cross cutting component in all other sectors – governance, science, innovation and the creative industries. 
  • New LEGISLATION for the Information Age: a)Intellectual Property Protection, b)E-Commerce/e-transaction legislation, and c)A robust Cyber Security policy.
  • Liberalisation and Establishing the sector Regulator in the form of a new Telecommunications Agency

 

On behalf of my family and the staff at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, I wish every single ICT specialist and entrepreneur out there, every single Guyanese from Mabaruma to Masekenari, a year filled with high achievements.

It is our wish that you will use every opportunity we have provided, every training programme, every internet hub, to increase the wealth of your knowledge, and then use this knowledge for the betterment of your families and communities.

HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS 2018 to you and yours!