Mar 12, 2016 News
– NCN’s once hidden teleport facilities now operational
A questionable four-year deal that cost taxpayers over $225M has finally ended with Government yesterday commissioning an earth station that has the capacity to transmit programmes of the Guyana Learning Channel (GLC) throughout the country.
The commissioning will mean that TVG 28, an operation owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, will lose over $40M in revenues annually that came from the contract acquired under the previous administration.
The teleport facility commissioned yesterday is expected to raise capacity of the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) to transmit live events. And that is only the beginning. NCN has already acquired more equipment to transmit from anywhere in Guyana-— live.
The contract with TVG was a secret one until a Parliamentary Committee learnt a few years ago that Ramroop’s company was being paid $3.6M monthly to transmit GLC’s programs, which targets students.
What was shocking was when last year it became know that NCN had for some time now had the capacity to also beam down the GLC programs to remote Amerindian and other communities.
The problem is that NCN never installed the equipment that was left lying, apparently deliberately, in several boxes in the compound of that entity.
It was only discovered last year when the David Granger administration took office.
Yesterday, it was disclosed that NCN managed to within a few weeks unpack the boxes and operationalize the teleport.
NCN’s Chief Executive Officer, Molly Hassan, made it clear that the teleport facility which is currently only transmitting GLC programmes, will serve as a springboard of more things to come.
Head of GLC, Dr. Seeta Roath, explained that programmes for the channel, transmitted in Georgetown on Channel 29/80, comes from National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), in Kingston.
Under the current system, signals are transmitted from Kingston to NCN compound where the teleport system bounces it to a satellite. This is, in layman’s terms, transmitted back down to the 12 locations in the different regions which have been equipped to receive.
According to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who has responsibilities for public information, the commissioning of the teleport facility has implications as it is about ensuring the security of the state.
It “is not only in keeping with the promise made to provide information to our Guyanese people but this is securing a defense capability, a security capability because the first line of defence in a situation such as ours is the ability to communicate.”
Government is hoping that additional upgrades to the teleport facilities will see even the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations being beamed live to locations.
At the same time, the PM also urged NCN to move itself to a competitive area and clean up its operations.
Nagamootoo said he has seen wires and cables unsightedly bunched at NCN with several damaged vehicles found stored in the compound last year.
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