PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has congratulated Digicel Guyana for reaching out to under-served communities.
He offered the congratulations Tuesday, at the commissioning of the Digicel solar cellular network at Matthew’s Ridge, in the Matarkai triangle of North West District, in Region One (Barima/Waini).The Head of State was on a visit in the community and addressed issues of developmental concerns with residents at Matthew’s Ridge Primary School, following a tour of the school.
Mr. Jagdeo noted that, when Digicel was given the licence to operate in Guyana, it was in an environment where Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company Limited (GT&T) had a monopoly for international calls, through an agreement that gave it, alone, a very, very long period of almost 40 years service.
He said his Administration was upset that such a deal was signed. Nevertheless it has been pressing the company and is working towards a liberalised environment, in the hope that, in the future, Digicel will not be confined to only bring in services at the domestic level but voice as well as data services and have the ability to take international services to the far-fetched communities.
President Jagdeo assured: “These communities will be directly connected through that company. We are working towards liberalising the environment. Even now, negotiations are ongoing as it concerns Matthew’s Ridge and the surrounding communities".
He said he was very surprised that, given the old GT&T infrastructure there, the telephone company did not see it fit to extend its service there, leaving the community stranded.
President Jagdeo said, today in Guyana, there are over 600,000 cell phones in a population of 750,000 people and, when more and more people are trying to access the Internet and get more information from it, not just for the purpose of entertainment but also for educational purposes, then there should be good services to all the communities.
The President said: “This afternoon (Tuesday), when I go to the next meeting that I have with the community, I will tell you about the plans to bring rural Guyana and hinterland Guyana into the digital age, in which these communities will be interconnected to a wonderful project that we are starting at a national level, which would see, first of all, within a matter of months, a television channel and an educational channel reaching into many communities including, Matthew’s Ridge”