Connectivity seen hindering e-government development

Thursday, September 29, 2011

There has been a clear trend toward the modernization of IT systems within the Chilean public sector, although connectivity remains one of the main challenges to overcome for the development of e-government plans, Juan Rada, Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL) senior VP for global public sector, healthcare and education, told BNamericas.

The public sector in Chile has shown great interest in upgrading its IT platforms, including the armed forces, the health ministry - which is already discussing the next generation of investments in this area - and the planning ministry, which is also evaluating public policies.

However, there are two important challenges for the country, Rada said. "There is a high fragmentation of municipalities in the country, for example in Santiago. Therefore, there is no critical mass to create a system similar to what has been established in New York."

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New York has implemented the online 311 service, a government information and non-emergency service available in over 50 languages for residents, business owners and visitors.

The system in New York is based on Oracle technology, with 117 online services for citizens. "It's an example of how you can re-direct resources to other purposes that are more relevant to citizens," Rada added. "New York's budget did not decrease, which is one of the great myths of the public sector" as money saved from these online services was simply re-directed to other areas.

Another important issue is the available bandwidth in municipalities for e-government initiatives to work, regardless of this being an issue for Chile in general as a country, according to Rada.

"A few years ago we were leading the connectivity process in Latin America but now we are lagging behind in quality and price; now we have narrow broadband at a high price," Rada said.