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Caribbean ICT watch

Bnamericas Published: Monday, October 17, 2022
Caribbean ICT watch

Guyana telecom operator GTT has announced its intention to invest 10bn Guyanese dollars (US$47.9mn) in its fiber optic network over the next two years, local press reported. 

The company aims to extend its networks to an additional 80,000 homes, which would increase its total coverage to 75% of all homes and businesses in Guyana. 

GTT has invested around 22bn Guyanese dollars in its landline and mobile networks. In the past 12 months, the company connected around 25,000 homes and businesses in the West and East Coast Demarara Georgetown, Berbice, East Bank Demarara and Linden. 

The operator surpassed the target of 100,000 homes passed during 2022. 

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The Saint Martin internet exchange point (IXP) is set to be launched on October 21.

Called Smart-IX, the new IXP is part of the 670,000-euro (US$650,000) CaribiX project, which is being coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). 

Caribix involves plans to establish and develop IXPs in the French territories of Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and Guadeloupe.

“In Saint Martin, the CaribIX project aims to create a digital bridge to existing internet infrastructure in Sint Maarten, to facilitate inter-island traffic exchange and strengthen the domestic network,” Gary Kalloo, Director of Business Development and Implementation Support and CTU Lead on the CaribIX Project, said in a CTU release.  

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Jamaica’s Ministry of Science and Technology awarded a license for SpaceX’s Starlink to offer internet services via satellite technology. 

Starlink will offer broadband services in remote and unconnected areas. It also will provide telehealth services, and connectivity to support and enable economic growth, and the services will also be helpful in emergencies, like hurricanes, the ministry was reported as saying, according to The Jamaica Gleaner.

Starlink has been authorized to operate in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica in the Caribbean, as well as in Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, among others. 

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St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Konris Maynard committed to achieving universal affordable broadband connections for residents and citizens of the federation before 2030. 

So far, government strategy has resulted in about 85% mobile and internet penetration on St. Kitts and Nevis. 

The ministry has “pledged to our local internet service providers to engage in 'Partner2Connect’ initiatives to improve connectivity around the island" and that "high-speed internet is provided for free to our local community centres around the island to enable unconnected citizens the opportunity to connect,” Maynard said, according to the St Kitts Nevis Information Service.

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The CTU signed a joint declaration with the Organization of American States (OAS) to accelerate digital transformation in the region. 

"The CTU strongly supports multilateral collaboration with inter-American agencies because it provides opportunities to explore areas of cooperation on matters of digital transformation and harmonized regulation policies, which are all critical to the region's social and economic development," CTU Secretary General Rodney Taylor was quoted as saying by daily Jamaica Observer.   

The joint declaration will also support collaboration between regulatory bodies from the partner organizations and will help the recent mandate of the Caricom heads of government to establish a single Caricom ICT regulator. 

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