In the first half of 2014, $450.6M was spent on the completion of works under the E-Governance project.
This is according to Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, who over the weekend gave a midyear review of Government spending and said that civil works on the project, including tests, have been completed at all of the 54 LTE sites, including tests.
Commissioning, he said, is expected by the end of the third quarter.
According to Dr. Singh, it is pending the completion of power conversion to be done by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).
More than two years behind schedule, the E Governance project has suffered from extensive delays and even had to be modified.
The modification was related to the fiber optic cable government is stringing from Brazil.
Earlier this year, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon reported that the modification to the design of the cable was necessitated in order to ensure its integrity.
He stated that the view is that 10 kilometres (km) lengths of the reels of cable were probably too long to ensure the integrity at minimal risk, hence shorter lengths are now being utilised in some sections.
He said that the project has now started to utilise 4km lengths, specifically in areas where the 10km lengths have been exposed to damage and breakages.
Dr. Luncheon said that where the 10km lengths are intact and integrity tested, those will remain in place, but in other areas where there is a sustained basis for thinking that a shorter length would be easier to secure and maintain its integrity, those are being switched out.
The E-Governance Project consists of the setting up of a Data Centre, a transmission network and the data network. The Data Centre, or control centre, is being housed in the compound of Castellani House, in the same building that is used for the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Transmission Network stretches from Moleson Creek on the Corentyne Coast to Charity on the Essequibo Coast. The cable runs from Lethem in the Rupununi through Linden to Georgetown.
It consists of a fibre network and microwave network. Fibre will be available from Lethem to Georgetown, Moleson Creek to Parika, while microwave will be available from Moleson Creek to Charity. From Parika to Moleson Creek, the network allows a fallover from fibre to microwave for all sites.
By way of the access network, all major Government facilities in the coverage areas will be connected via fibre and/or 4G wireless Cellular services.
According to handouts provided to the media, approximately all major Government agencies and offices are within the coverage area. The Project team said the network is designed to be easily extendable and will provide a range of services such as “E-Health”, allowing for video consultation, movement of information from one health centre to another and tracking disease outbreaks.
Regarding security, the project would allow quick transmission of information, including video and data between police stations.
In education, the project would set up an “E-library” which would allow for access to textbooks and other teaching aids that can be used by students and schools, thereby lowering cost.
Poor families who cannot pay for the internet would be hooked up to the internet at community centres in various areas, such as in the hinterland.
The project came about following an audit which showed that the government’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure was weak.
In 2009, the Government signed an agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Ltd, which advanced the project.
Through the E-Governance Project, the government is seeking to enhance the Government services offered to the populace, but also radically transform the ICT infrastructure of Guyana and bring it more on par with the rest of the Caribbean.
The project team said that over the course of the project, several changes were made. The biggest of these were switching from WiMax and EVDO technologies to LTE-Advanced and using a modular data centre approach over the traditional data centre.
The infrastructure will be using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to provide a robust and easily scalable backbone network. The system is designed for 10 years use before upgrades are required. This is the primary link connecting Guyana, through Brazil, to the internet.
The project will then deploy Fibre and LTE Advanced cellular sites to provide access for users in the major population centres. It is estimated that all major Government offices and institutions will be within the coverage area serving an estimate 40,000 to 60,000 households.
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