In its aim to provide connectivity across Guyana, Digicel, on Monday, launched its LTE services to the people of St Cuthbert’s Mission — an Amerindian community once living on little to no internet/mobile connection.
Dating back all the way to 2014, a proposal was made to Digicel to improve the connectivity in the community, according to former Toshao Luke Simon.
“I, as Toshao then, submitted a letter of proposal to Digicel, to upgrade the communication signal in the community,” Simon said during small remarks at the launching ceremony.
Now, eight years later, the people of St Cuthbert’s Mission will be able to enjoy internet connectivity like most of Guyana, through Digicel’s services.
Months after the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government took office in 2020, Guyana’s telecommunications sector was liberalised. Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips had announced that Commencement Orders had been issued, bringing into force the Telecommunications Act 2016 and the Public Utilities Commission Act 2016.
This liberalisation paved the way for many service providers in Guyana to expand their reach across the nation. St Cuthbert’s Mission is just one of many hinterland communities to receive internet and mobile connectivity.
Just a week ago, Digicel Guyana launched its LTE service in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
“With the launch of this service, we now cover 98 per cent of the population. And I think even more importantly for us, we’re at 90 per cent population coverage in terms of LTE services. Our plan for the rest of the year, in terms of the mobile service, is to upgrade LTE services across the communities and we want to get to 96 per cent by the end of the year,” Digicel Guyana’s Chief Executive Officer Gregory Dean revealed during his remarks.
Digicel Guyana has planned to spend US$22.6 million ($4.5 billion) to upgrade and expand its 4G LTE network, aiming to increase its coverage in the country.
It was reported that major upgrades are on the table for Regions One (Barima-Waini), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). Currently, the company is completing works on its services at Eteringbang, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
Prime Minister Phillips, who is a frequent visitor to the people of St Cuthbert’s Mission, said that he is elated for the community to be finally receiving stable connectivity that would allow them to browse the internet, make calls locally and internationally and also study online – a growing learning medium in this technological era.
“Not only can you be at home and make a call that is clearer to any part of the world, you can get on the internet, and not only for fun, not only for social media surfing but also for education. Education for the children. Education for the parents who are now focused on your careers, but at the same time you want to advance your education. So, you could be at home, you could sign up for a project, you know we have the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) and then there are other opportunities outside of Guyana,” the Prime Minister said.
“This is the transformation, as a Government, that we’re talking about. We call it accelerated development. We call that transformative development. I assure you that the Government will continue to work with Digicel and other service providers to ensure that we bridge the digital divide.”
In terms of spectrum, he revealed that discussions are ongoing to facilitate the sector’s expansion by making more spectrums available to service providers.