One week before International Girls in ICT Day, Nuria Simo, Chief Information Officer and General Manager, Department of Information Technology of the Inter-American Bank (IDB), says the time is ripe to see more women holding leadership positions in T&T’s ICT sector. She made this statement during her recent visit to the American Chamber of Commerce T&T’s office in Port-of-Spain.
Following Simo’s meeting with senior female ICT executives fron AmCham’s member companies, the business organisation and the IDB launched their Women in Leadership Mentorship Programme.
Addressing the group of leading women in the field of Information Technology, Simo led the discussion on the challenges she and many other women face when navigating the ladder of success.
“We need role models for girls and young women to see that it is possible to be successful in senior ICT positions,” she said.
The mentorship programme, which will be done in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, seeks to pair five mentees with senior regional professionals in the fields of science, information technology and economics.
The mentors were selected from the IDB’s vast network of professionals, an organisation which is known for its stance on gender parity in the workplace. AmCham’s CEO Nirad Tewarie said: “This initiative is an extension of the theme of our recently concluded Women’s Leadership Seminar held in February, under the hashtag #BeBoldForChange.
Tewarie continued, “We are ensuring that we make a conscious effort to not only add to the discussion but to be part of the solution.”
He went to say, “We are fully committed to seeing this through along with our partner the IDB, and it is our hope that this pilot project can serve as a template that other business service organisations can adopt and that we can expand.”
Jamaican Minister Ties ICT Achievements To Huge Spending
Jamaican Energy, Science and Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley announced on Tuesday the rollout of additional access points for free public Wi-Fi, as he highlighted other achievements in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) field.
The minister announced the developments — which include free Wi-Fi in public spaces and broadband connections in educational institutions — during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.
As it relates to the Universal Service Fund ConnectJa public Wi-Fi programme, Wheatley announced that four other arears will enjoy free Wi-Fi access. The USFConnectJa programme was launched last year when free public Wi-Fi networks were installed at Devon House and Mandela Park (HWT) at a cost of over JA$4M.
The minister disclosed that the coming months will see the continued rollout of public Wi-Fi both in urban and rural areas. The project is designed to provide greater and easier access to broadband internet service for Jamaicans across the island.
“This initiative is expected to fuel the government’s plans of creating a knowledge-based society by removing any barrier that currently exists for citizens who may be unable to afford connectivity,” Wheatley said Tuesday.
The total number of broadband connections completed by government as at March 31st stood at 430, which includes 212 educational institutions, 41 library sites, 68 post offices, 60 Ministry of Health sites and 49 Jamaica Constabulary Force sites.
The minister said 12 special projects were completed for the fiscal year 2016/2017. He disclosed that millions were spent to help upgrade and improve the ICT infrastructure of the following service entities: Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE), MICO University, University of Technology (UTECH),
He said the Mico University “well advanced” in its plans to become the main hub for ICT teacher training in the Caribbean. He said this is made possible by funding from the USF of US$358,150 to establish 12 smart class rooms throughout the campus and for the installation of campus-wide Wi-Fi networks.
The USF contributed JA$20M for the upgrading of the Wi-Fi network infrastructure throughout the campus of the UTECH.
ALIV Challenges BTC Statement On Network Sharing
Former cellular monopolist the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and mobile newcomer Aliv have locked horns over a long-delayed co-location agreement, after a press release by the former was immediately contradicted by the latter. In a statement released by BTC last week, the operator announced that it had signed an agreement for tower sharing with Aliv, allowing the new entrant to offer mobile services in areas where it has yet to complete its own infrastructure rollout.
According to the statement, BTC would charge Aliv a ‘nominal fee’ for the use of its mobile sites, with the smaller company operating as an MVNO in such areas. BTC noted that whilst it would receive ‘some level of compensation,’ it stressed that the payment ‘pales in comparison to the investment that we have made over the many years we have provided services’. As such, the incumbent suggested that Aliv’s participation in the sector was not fair and did not represent ‘competition in its true essence.’
BTC added that it had received co-location requests for more than 30 sites across Andros and Grand Bahama as well as numerous sites in Abaco, Acklins, Berry Island among others.
In a rebuttal to BTC’s statement, Aliv revealed that it had not signed an agreement, having only received the final terms of the co-location from BTC the day before BTC published its statement. Consequently, Aliv is still reviewing the document to ensure that the offer met its requirements. For its part, Aliv also pointed out that BTC has dragged its feet on the matter, noting in its statement: ‘We have been waiting for these final terms since summer 2016, when we first and proactively requested co-location from BTC. We welcome BTC’s recent decision to provide co-location to Aliv, despite the length of time that this has taken.’
The newcomer also took issue with the accuracy of other parts of BTC’s statement, with Aliv keen to dispute BTC’s claim that it would only receive a nominal fee for co-location. Aliv would instead be paying a ‘market rate’ for its use of the sites: ‘In line with the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) regulations, the rate that BTC will charge Aliv is the same rate offered to other such third parties currently using BTC sites in a similar fashion’. Finally, Aliv CEO Damian Blackburn refuted BTC’s claim that its smaller rival would be operating as an MVNO on its network, saying: I would like to assure the people of the Bahamas that this is not an MVNO agreement where the MVNO leases the network from a mobile operator. Instead, this agreement will enable Aliv to deploy its world-class LTE network on every island, rock and cay of the Bahamas, and BTC will earn the industry standard market rate in return for use of its towers.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Mr Blackburn indicated in late March that BTC had yet to comply with an order from the regulator to provide Aliv with a national roaming service for a two-year period, whilst the latter completed the rollout of its own infrastructure. Telecoms watchdog URCA also encouraged the two mobile providers to share infrastructure wherever possible, but the official claims BTC has been slow to cooperate with the newcomer, forcing it revert to its original plan to simply rollout all new infrastructure.