The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines in collaboration with the Government of St Lucia and Grenada signed a contract with Digicel as part of the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programe (CARCIP), for Broadband Backbone Networks.
During a Press Conference on October 1st 2018 the Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance , Economic Planning , Sustainable Development and ICT gave an overview of the project under CARCIP.
Gonsalves stated that greater infrastructure is required to see development in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector of SVG.
The Project to Design, Supply, Install and Maintain a Broadband Backbone Network is done in collaboration with the World Bank and coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunication Union.
Invitation for contract bids was dated May 27 2016 by CARCIP and outlined several components described in Lots, those of particular benefit to SVG are the:
Government Wide Area Networks GWANs, IP/PBX, Internet Access
Undersea Cable System connecting St. Vincent and Grenada with landing stations at Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island (possessions of St. Vincent) and Carriacou (possession of Grenada).
“This CARCIP program is going to improve dramatically, the fiber optic backbone in St Vincent and the Grenadines and will also take fiber from St Vincent through the Grenadines all the way down to Grenada” Gonsalves said.
A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. They’re designed for long distance, very high-performance data networking, and telecommunications.
Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances. Fiber optic cables support much of the world’s internet, cable television, and telephone systems.
Gonsalves spoke on the connectivity in the Grenadines presently offered by use of a Microwave link “People who get broadband in the Grenadines get it through something called microwave transmission which is limited and certain speeds are not possible in a sustained way”
A microwave link is a communications system that uses a beam of radio waves in the microwave frequency range to transmit video, audio, or data between two locations, which can be from just a few feet or meters to several miles or kilometers apart it suffers from signal absorption by the atmosphere, weather obstruction.
“If we are serious about developing business, the hotel sector, services throughout the Grenadines we have to lay cable” Gonsalves said, in speaking on how the new cable will benefit businesses and service providers.
The 15 years contract with Digicel will enhance the backbone in St Vincent, connect Government Buildings, Schools, and connect the Grenadines.
“That will allow us to seriously talk about E-Government, Smart Cities, Safe Cities, connecting Health Services electronically “ Gonsalves said.
Video Credit: NBC Radio
Today, there are over 420 submarine cables in service, stretching over 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) around the world. Remote Pacific islands, and even obscure ocean towns in the Arctic Circle have such connections.
Several ICT Businesses in SVG were awarded Business Incubation Grants through the Business Incubation and Training Grants programme that is a component of the Caribbean Regional Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP) SVG project that was launched in 2014.