FREE public Wi-Fi and solar power for the Grandstand, Queen's Park Savannah are two of the elements to help turn Port of Spain into a "smart city," said Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte.
He was speaking on Thursday night at the launch of TSTT's free public Wi-Fi at Queen's Park Savannah West.
He said the project will positively impact people's lives and he expressed hope it will encourage more people to utilise the Savannah to relax, exercise and build community. He noted that the Savannah is the city's largest open, one of the oldest, and as a centre for the cultural and social landscape it was suitable place for the project.
Le Hunte said Government had to vision to create smart cities which would be spaces with the infrastructure and environment to develop objectives in a clean and sustained manner. He explained that before smart cities there needed to be smart spaces and this was being done with the Savannah through: the use of LED lights; with plans for solar panel recycling bins which will crush items and for which negotiations are advanced; and a solar project using the top of the Grandstand to possibly power all activities for which funding had been secured from an international source.
"It is an attempt to create an all inclusive smart space."
He said Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez insisted the next smart space should be Woodford Square and before the end of the year there will be free Wi-Fi and also LED lights with built-in security cameras and solar panel recycling bins. Le Hunte said this was part of Government's initiative to improve all important areas in the country.
TSTT CEO Dr Ronald Walcott said public Wi-Fi is an integral part of the technology framework of countries like Estonia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea and it must play a pivotal role in TT.
The Wi-Fi at the Queen's Park Savannah was done with 15km of fibre, has 68 access points and can connect up to 5,000 simultaneous users. Walcott explained the best coverage is the footpath around the Savannah, though it is almost everywhere, it is running at five megabits per second, users do not have to be Bmobile customers and it will free for half an hour in the first instance. He said consideration is being given to extending the time to an hour.
He said the public Wifi was a mandate from Le Hunte who wanted it before Christmas as a gift to the nation.