THE Tobago Information Technology Ltd board is hoping to provide over 90 per cent of the island with broadband service before the end of 2022. The new board was installed recently and will serve until November 2021.
Reinstated chairman Gerard MacFarlane said on Let's Talk Tobago, "We're grateful that we've been given a chance to serve again, I and all our members who've been reappointed. It means we're doing something that is working and we're happy to continue doing much more with less."
He added, "One of the things is looking at digital transformation of the island. That is a matter of policy position of the THA and Government in the digitalisation of the country."
In an interview with Newsday on Monday, MacFarlane said discussions have already begun on the "smart island" project to provide high-speed internet to the majority of Tobago.
"We started discussions with the providers to see what is required and to see how we can work together to have that achieved, at least 90 per cent within two years. Most likely it might be done before. (From) the last discussion with one of the providers, it's possible to reach that. There needs to be a lot of infrastructure work to achieve that."
The covid19 pandemic has made internet access critical for students, as schools have been physically closed and online classes the new normal.
MacFarlane said meetings will be held with education and other stakeholders.
"We have plans to talk to (the) Education Division, TTUTA, Tourism Agency (Ltd), Hotel and Tourism Association and some business works. We cannot provide all the hardcore infrastructure that is required."
MacFarlane, who has been on the TITL board for over five years, said the TITL continues to have an effect on technology on the island. He said the establishments of the 211 support service call centre and emergency device for elderly have been successful.
"We have done quite a few things. We have reached almost two million calls for assistance since we established, in 2006-2007, the 211 call centre.
"We have the emergency medical alert system, which is ongoing. We're looking to do a more modern device. It originated as a base station but we're looking to establish a mobile unit, almost like a phone that you walk anywhere in Tobago and anything happens, you just press and the number goes to the emergency call centre."
He said the TITL board is also expected to help the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) digitise its records.
"We're also going to restart serious discussions with the TRHA with respect to having the medical information system in such a way that it can be easily accessed. People will benefit from health service delivery.
"So you go to a health centre, you fall down and you have your card or number and you can just punch in the number and see your records, what you're allergic to...The health centre or hospital will have all your records, instead of having a problem where they can't find your file. Everything will be digitised, making health delivery very effective.
"The people at TRHA are very keen because the present system is not working as they thought it should."
TITL board: Gerard MacFarlane (chairman), Lois Leslie (vice chair), Melanie Roberts-Radgman, Tineesia Brebnor, Wade David, Frances Simmons (directors) and Ric Mc Pherson (secretary).