SOME of us take it for granted— a touch of a button and a world of information is available on our desktops, laptops or mobile devices. But what about those living in areas of this country with limited or no access to technology?
These communities will soon have improved access to technology, through the construction of Community-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centres.
These Star.tt Community-based ICT Access Centres aim to close the existing digital gap in remote areas.
These centres allow members of the community quick access to information, training and e-Government services in the under-served and less-developed areas, as well as among traditionally under-served groups such as the physically challenged, the elderly and at risk youth.
Six Access Centres were scheduled in the following areas in Phase I of the Star.tt programme includding Penal/Siparia/Debe; Toco/Cumana; Tobago East, Tabaquite/Talparo; Point Fortin/Cedros and Mayaro.
Three community-based ICT Access Centres have already been established in the Penal, Toco/Cumana and Mayaro areas, with the remaining centres currently under construction.
Moruga has been identified as one of the most underserved areas based on the ICT Development Index (IDI), Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) and Digital Access Index (DAI) results derived from the Telecommunications Authority of T&T’s (TATT’s) 2013 Digital Divide Survey.
In light of this, a decision was taken to include Moruga as part of Phase I of the Star.tt ICT Access Centre Initiative.
In Phase II of the initiative, the Ministry of Science and Technology proposes to establish an additional 24 Community-based ICT Access Centres at selected sites in the underserved areas indicated based on the results of the TATT’s 2013 Digital Divide Survey.
This will be done at a total cost of $153.5 million.
Other areas that will be served during Phase II include Waterloo/Carapichaima; Balmain/Gran Couva; San Francique/La Fortune/Woodland; Maracas/St. Joseph; Les Coteaux/San Raphael/Brazil; Carenage; Barrackpore; Las Cuevas/La Fillette/Blanchisseuse; Biche/Plum Mitan; Brickfield/Navet; Pembroke/Glamorgan (Tobago); Brasso Seco; Castara; Chatham; Ecclesville; Fishing Pond; Flanagin Town; Forres Park/Phoenix Park; Laventille; Matelot/Grande Riviere/San Souci; Piparo; Roxboroug and St Julien.
To ensure the continued successful establishment of this initiative, the Ministry of Science and Technology will establish an ICT Access Centre Unit in the Ministry to oversee and execute outfitting, operations and ongoing maintenance of the Centres.