Guyana Telecommunications Agency officially established

The Guyana Telecommunications Agency has been officially established as of January 19, 2017, this is the first of two phases in the implementation of the Telecommunications Act 2016.

This disclosure was made by Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes this morning at a press conference. “The objective of establishing the agency now is to give time to put in place certain administrative arrangements that are necessary for the agency to function effectively when the entire Act is brought into force,” Minister Hughes said.

The Agency will be responsible for a number of essential administrative and organisational activities which will include: staffing of the agency, finalisation of licensing procedures in preparation for liberalisation, and issuance of new licenses to Telecommunication entities. The agency will be managed by a board; board members will be elected soon.

Andre Griffith, Telecommunications Consultant explained that the Agency will empower Minister Hughes to give policy directives, upon which the agency will act while advising the Minister. The National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), which regulates the spectrum, shall be dissolved and the staff will be incorporated into the Telecommunications Agency.

Addressing the issue of dates of liberalisation, the Telecommunications Minister stated: “We are making good progress examining the proposals and the measures for liberalization…we want to ensure Guyanese get the best deal.”

An update was also provided on the ICT Access and eServices project for hinterland, poor and remote communities project which is seeking to bridge the gap between the coast and hinterland. The ICTs play a central role in the programme which focuses on

Policy development; Access (to both ICTs and public services and information; and Capacity development.

The $17M five-year project is being funded by The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The e-governance unit has been streamlining Guyana’s digital drive. To date, 78 hubs have been installed within the coastland, and 18 hubs in the hinterland.

National Data Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman, Floyd Levi, explained that the goal is to provide improved access to ICT in these targeted areas while promoting the development of a national green economy.

In the context of this project, poor communities are classified as those areas where persons live in conditions “near multidimensional poor” while remote communities are located not necessarily far away from Georgetown and the coastline from a geographical point of view, but are difficult to access.

By: Zanneel Williams, Department of Public Information.