Leslie Jack, manager of telecommunications provider LIME, says he is puzzled that only a few persons have signed up for Internet under concessionary rates agreed upon by providers and the regulator.
“As far as connectivity is concerned, it is something that has puzzled me, and I am saying it publicly and I have also said it to the NTRC (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) and a couple other key stakeholders as well,” Jack told a LIME town hall meeting in Questelles on Saturday.
He said that both Internet providers, Karib Cable and LIME, have agreed that they would make Internet connection cheaper specifically for those persons who received laptop under the Government’s one laptop per student initiative.
“For about two to three months, both companies hammered it on radio, hammered it on TV – ‘It is $50 versus $90’,” Jack said.
He said that persons interested in the deal need only bring along the requisite paperwork to access the EC$50 per month package.
“I am very embarrassed to say how many persons have taken that up,” Jack said, even as he noted that the $50-a-month package has the same connection speed as the $90 one.
“In general, a lot of persons have been acquiring Internet service, which is fantastic, fantastic business; but as it relates to reaching out to people in the lower income areas who have those laptops, we are not seeing a lot of acquisition of that $50 service broadband that is available to these folks,” Jack said.
He further said that last year, LIME won a bid to provide 350 homes with subsidised Internet service through the NTRC.
Under the initiative, persons pay $10 a month.
“We have not had 50 persons on that programme as yet. So, [it is] a bit puzzling to me, and I am sure it is puzzling to some of the other stakeholders as well,” Jack said.
“… Perhaps I should use this opportunity to let persons know it is available if you check the NTRC,” Jack further said, noting that there is also an application process to access the deal.
It just goes to show how VINLEC have persons living in fear.
Cheaper internet tends to increase computer and and hence electricity usage.
That sounds bogus. How much electricity does a computer burn?
The average laptop / desktop uses between 50 – 250 watts depending on age and screen size. Figure the modem is about 75 watts and compound a desk or table lamp / light for night usage at 75 watts.
You tell me how much it will cost per hour with vat and surcharge.
I stand corrected.
Mike are you serious? You really think that is the best reason for why these deals have not been taken up? I really can’t see that as a strong rationale as a generalization though.
Anyway, this is the first I’ve heard of this apart from my mom telling me a few days ago that she heard on the radio that Internet is available at $50. I found it odd and dismissed it as miscommunication. But now that I’ve seen this officially and know what the general pare meters are I will advise my students.
Its a little less complicated than that. If a person can’t afford $90 they probably can’t afford $50. that is why you can see children and adults using unsecured WIFI wherever its available, because its free.
Jack is looking only at his bottom line and not at the people he wants as customers. These laptops were given to people who could not afford to buy one. Hence they can’t afford $50 a month for Internet connection.
I am sure $50 is a lot of food for some families, and what’s the advantage to some of these families. What LIME and Jack should do is give the same deal to schools, so the youths can access the Internet from a school server. Parents can be asked to contribute to the cost of setting up a WIFI for the school. The other problem is why should poor people being paying $50 if the kids spend less that 1 hour daily on the internet. It just doesnt add up. Maybe Jack should start helping neighbourhoods to set up WIFI and share the cost.
I am not too worried about the electricity used by a laptop, because it far less that the amount consumed by a TV, which stays on for longer periods. The emphasis is to make the Internet available to every village, town and mountain settlers.
It can be a Win! Win situation for LIME, if it sets up the WIFI and sell or rent routers to consumers. Many people would probably be able to afford this cost. Otherwise the kids and techies will always use other peoples unprotected connection for free.
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