– deal with consortium being considered
Government is still to finalise details on how it will proceed on the problematic Brazil fibre optic cable, with negotiations ongoing with a consortium that has expressed interest in correcting the faults.
Updating the media Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said that the consortium, reportedly including local and foreign partners, has asked for “certain considerations” in return for the work. Government will not be announcing what these considerations are, as the proposal is still being studied.
According to Luncheon, Government initially had two options to correct the cable – do it themselves or partner with others.
The cable from Brazil is part of a US$32M, three-component E-Governance project to connect Government facilities along the Linden-Lethem road and the coastland with internet.
The other two components included a cable from Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, through Georgetown to Moleson Creek, East Berbice, and a data centre with 54 towers that will create a wireless network. The data centre is completed and located in the compound of Castellani House, Vlissengen Road.
The Government official said that engineers assessing the extent of work to be done on the cable from Brazil expressed the need for a significant number of defects to be corrected along the route from Lethem.
In December, days after Kaieteur News reported that the cable project was in deep trouble, Luncheon denied that the E-Governance project had collapsed. Rather, he said that it was in a remedial stage. Several persons have been hauled before the courts for lending to the poor state of the project.
“I for one am engaged in negotiations, but I have to be hesitant in these days of prorogation. I am involved in discussions with a local firm and one from a neighbouring country to conclude the rehabilitation of the existing cable that traverses the over 200 kilometers from its entry point in Lethem to its termination here at Castellani (House) in Georgetown…but in so saying (the project) is obviously in need of being remedied.”
Over $1B has been spent on the Brazil cable so far.
The Cabinet Secretary had said that some time, probably around 2011 and 2012, it was recognized that significant failures had occurred. He said that this is regarding contractors and meeting their obligations with supervisory firms and commitments in the development and unfolding of the project.
Guyana is committed to paying a Brazil internet company around US$76,000 a year for connectivity.
A Government source close to the project had informed Kaieteur News that there was continuous breakage to the cable along the way. There were criticisms that bad planning and poor implementation caused the problems.
Physical works for the laying of cable began in April 2011, but poor weather conditions and the absence of appropriate equipment were cited for the slothfulness of contractors.
On the Brazil side, Globonet, a subsidiary of Oi, the largest telephone company of that neighbouring country, had landed the fibre optic cable to the border.
By way of the network, it was the plan that all major Government facilities in the coverage areas would be connected via fibre optic and/or 4G wireless Cellular services.
Government had announced that the connection would allow for, in addition to connectivity, a range of services such as “E-Health” facilitating video consultation, movement of information from one health centre to another and tracking disease outbreaks.
Regarding security, the project would see quick transmission of information including video and data between police stations.
In education, the project would set up an “E-library” which sets up access to textbooks and other teaching aids that can be used by students and schools, thereby lowering cost.
The project is headed by Alexei Ramotar, son of President Donald Ramotar.
Government had teamed up with Chinese-owned Huawei Technology Co., Ltd. (Huawei) in implementing the project. That Chinese company, according to Government, will be responsible for network construction, training and maintenance for the various aspects of the entire project.
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