The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has unveiled four projects aimed at expanding Information Communication Technology (ICT) throughout the country.
Among the selected projects approved to receive funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF) is one for “Capacity Building – Women and Girls in ICT”.
This is a project centered on increasing awareness about ICT as a catalyst for change in society.
The project targets women and girls and sessions on cyber security and the dangers that cyberspace pose to children and seeks to provide training on business application particularly for small businesswomen and women in ICT’s.
A component of the project will be an essay writing competition for secondary school students on the topic – using ICT as a tool for economic development in major sectors of Grenada.
Another of the selected project to be carried out by NTRC will be Telecoms Infrastructure/Services-Telecommunications services and access devices for persons with disabilities.
This project is geared at increasing the use of ICTs among people with disabilities.
It will involve outfitting the Council of the Disabled and 10 other agencies, which assist persons with disabilities in Grenada with broadband internet services, computer equipment and software.
These devices will be equipped with special software, which will allow persons with disabilities visual impaired) to effectively utilise the services and have increased access to ICTs.
The NTRC will also undertake a Telecommunications Cell Tower at St Patrick which is intended to increase the quality of mobile telecommunications services to residents in St Patrick by erecting a cell tower in St Patrick to bring wireless coverage to residents of Bathway, Levera and surrounding areas.
The other project to be undertaken will be the provision of Internet services via WI-FI at strategic public locations & Emergency public access phones.
This seeks to provide Internet access to persons in public locations via wireless Internet.
Under this project, wireless Internet will be installed in approximately 13 locations throughout the country including Playgrounds, particularly those in close proximity to schools.
Emergency phones will also be installed at 10 targeted areas throughout the country such as tourist attraction sites and high crime areas.
According to USF Administrator, Christa Burke-Medford, the projects earmarked for initiation are in line with the priority goals identified by NTRC to expand access to telecommunications services in the remote/unserved communities throughout Grenada, and to make the services accessible to members of the community by utilising the available Universal Service Funds.
She disclosed that the bidding process for the selection of telecommunications providers to execute the telecoms infrastructure/services projects will commence within the upcoming month using existing procurement procedures in accordance with the USF Guidelines.
NTRC will then award contracts to successful bidders to execute and implement the projects within the coming weeks.
A total of $3.2 million has been allocated for the projects, however the full cost of the projects will be determined after the bidding process is completed.
NTRC Commissioner, Vincent Roberts said the building of a tower in the North of the country providing shared-access to all telecommunication networks for the first time is commendable.
He said the goal of the NTRC is to ensure that Grenada is fully wired as it can provide opportunities for people to take advantage of educational opportunities, develop their creative sides and create employment.
Coordinator of the NTRC, Aldwyn Ferguson said that Internet penetration in Grenada stands at 14% excluding mobile Internet devices.