THE Universal Service Fund Office of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission – St. Lucia, has announced a new project aimed at expanding efficient access to the internet for the poor, elderly, and physically challenged in Soufriere. The project, named “The Soufriere Digital Inclusion Initiative” is being proposed by the Soufriere Fond St. Jacques Constituency Council. The contract signatories are NTRC and Cable and Wireless St. Lucia, with Cable and Wireless St. Lucia being the contracted Service Provider. The contract was signed on November 10th, 2023.
The project aims to provide access to timely information, including job opportunities and services, facilitate the social and educational development of residents, and improve the economic development of the communities. The project will bridge the digital gap and generally improve the quality of life of residents within the target communities. As a constituency with extensive Internet access, the initiative will improve the attractiveness of the community to non-resident visitors.
The project will cost approximately EC$600,000.00 and is expected to be implemented over a period of approximately three (3) months. The NTRC subsidy will be provided for five years, commencing November 2023.
The project involves the expansion of the existing free public Wi-Fi network in the town and its introduction into several underserved communities outside of the Soufriere town center, especially along the Zenon to Fond St. Jacques corridor. The service provided will be Asynchronous Dedicated Internet Access, with 28 access points located across various locations in Soufriere.