The Ministry of Public Telecommunications yesterday commissioned its first public Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hub for the city, at Agricola, Greater Georgetown, and residents were urged to use the service to improve themselves.
This is the first of 18 hubs which will be placed in communities across the city. Some 400 hubs are expected to be up and running all across the country by 2020. These hubs will be strategically placed in communities to allow persons to access the internet and online government services.
At the simple launching ceremony young residents were eager to access the computers and experience the internet service.
The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) which falls under the umbrella of the MoPT is tasked with rolling out the public internet service and is currently collaborating with the Mayor and City Council to identify locations where the hubs can be installed.
The hubs are powered by bandwidth of one (1) to five (5) megabits per second, and can sometimes reach up to 50 megabits per second, depending on the number of users online at the time.
Director of Community Development and Social Management, of the NDMA, Phillip Walcott said that they are working to introduce more government services online. He said that persons would soon be able to apply for Birth Certificates and Passports, make Land Registry queries and access other services online, and will only need to visit the offices of these public services to complete the transactions.
Walcott called on residents to share their knowledge with persons who are willing to learn and to work together, so no one gets left behind as the country moves into the digital age.
“It is our intention to place hubs where residents of the community can access the internet and government services at home,” said Walcott. He told residents to take advantage of the service and use the internet for self-improvement by enrolling in self-learning online courses. He added that even though they are working to equip 18 communities with ICT hubs, they are challenged to find suitable public locations for the hubs.
“Georgetown is quite unique because we are not finding community spaces like other areas. That is why our partnership with the Mayor and City Council is important. They are helping us to identify areas where we can place the hubs,” Walcott disclosed.
Meanwhile, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said that she is happy that the community would be able to benefit from the internet service. She thanked the MoPT on behalf of the council and residents, for the introduction of the service and called on residents to protect and care what has been provided for them.
The communities in which the hubs are located have elected a managing committee who will overlook the operations.
Two other hubs are expected to be launched during the course of this week at Parika, East Bank Essequibo and at Better Hope, East Coast Demerara.