CARCIP partners with local college to expand internet access in St Lucia

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Saint Lucia ministry of public service, information and broadcasting is partnering with the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to conduct a series of surveys, as part of an in-depth analysis of the nation’s urban and rural broadband Internet connectivity gaps.

The exercise is being rolled out in communities across the island, including Micoud, Soufriere, Vieux Fort and Castries. The surveys will reap insight into why some communities have little or no access to telephone, Internet and cable television networks. This kind of insight is needed to ensure that all Saint Lucians have the opportunity to benefit from the state’s ongoing investments in the modernisation of its telecommunications technologies.

The initiative forms part of the ministry’s ongoing Caribbean Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), which aims to widen citizens’ access to regional broadband networks, in order to encourage local technology-enabled service industries.

CARCIP Saint Lucia is part of a wider regional program funded by the International Development Association of the World Bank and coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. At the regional level, CARCIP seeks to help governments and private sector to harmonise the development of critical telecommunications infrastructure across three participating Eastern Caribbean countries — Saint Lucia, Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The three countries recently signed a joint contract with US-based consultancy Decision Analysis to upgrade their broadband internet networks. The broadband assessment surveys are part of the first phase of that consultancy.

On March 25, the process started in earnest when the CARCIP Saint Lucia team and the Decision Analysis consultants met with students and faculty members of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to orient them on how to set up and conduct focus groups to gather qualitative, quantitative, and demographic data on connectivity gaps across the country.

The surveys will help the consultants to measure network capacity requirements in markets where there is no history of demand, and to determine market needs and preferences where there is no available market history. The process will continue into April 2015.

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