NTRC helps provide affordable internet access to students and their families
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) subsidizes the cost of basic Internet service through its Net4All program for the benefit of students and their families who have difficulty accessing the Internet.
NTRC Executive Director Craig Nesty said at the program’s virtual launch this week that as Dominica transforms with the Digital Dominica project it will be difficult to access services and may in fact be separated from the society.
“The NTRC has recognized this and is implementing an additional measure to help stem this – Net4All,” he said. “It will allow students and their families who have difficulty affording the Internet access to services subsidized by the Universal Service Fund for only $ 10.00 per month. “
Nesty continued, “This will complement other initiatives such as community WIFI networks and the East Coast Broadband Project. “
He added: “Net4All is a good step; this is a necessary step and much remains to be done if we are to achieve the goal of making the internet affordable, accessible and available to all and to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a situation where segments of our communities are separated from our society. “
He said suppliers are to be commended for stepping up and recognizing that it is more than a corporate responsibility.
“It’s a business necessity…” he said. “We cannot rest until the Internet in Dominica is affordable.”
And while, according to Nesty, the NTRC understands the external forces that have been exerted on service providers operating in the markets, the need to generate acceptable rates of return for external investors and the need to meet targets in order to ” encourage more investors. , “We must also recognize that this dynamic is pushing the Internet further and further beyond the reach of our citizens. “
The head of the NTRC believes that unless there is real competition in the market, “where their cost, that is to say the capital of local operators”, comes from the market and returns on investment are commensurate with market returns, “we will always achieve affordability.
“So while I applaud the ISPs for making this service available, I fear that it is not sustainable and that it is not even compatible with their ideals,” he noted. .
Nesty hopes the NTRC can find the will to adopt policies that offer real tangible benefits to the Dominican consumer in what he has dubbed “this dynamic telecommunications landscape.”