Regional Connectivity infrastructure.
This component will support bridging priority regional connectivity gaps in Saint Lucia through several sub-components, including a high-speed broadband backbone network, which will provide affordable connectivity to the entire population of Saint Lucia, connect critical institutions including healthcare facilities, libraries, museums, community access points, and also connect the country to global networks such as the CKLN.
This component will support bridging priority connectivity gaps in Saint Lucia, and connect Saint Lucia with regional backbones through several subcomponents as detailed below. The Ministry of the Public Service will be responsible for these components through the National ICT Office.
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for (i) the design of PPP frameworks consistent with those designed at the regional level, including validation of design/costs for the broadband infrastructure, and (ii) design of enabling regulation harmonized at the regional level and provision of effective regulatory oversight in key technical areas including infrastructure sharing and open access for both the IXP and broadband network, and rural connectivity.
Broadband Backbone Network
Support of government’s contribution to develop a high speed broadband backbone network to connect major populated centers to existing regional broadband networks, as well as increase cross-border connectivity with neighboring countries. The broadband backbone network would provide affordable regional connectivity to the entire population of Saint Lucia, will enhance the overall resilience of the regional network, and could be further leveraged as the primary backbone for a National Research and Education Network which would be linked to the Caribbean Regional Research and Education Network (C@ribNet), currently being deployed throughout the region, including Saint Lucia, and being coordinated and managed by CKLN.
The backbone network could provide a unique opportunity for key government agencies (including Inland Revenue, post offices, schools, health facilities, police, security/emergency response agencies) to connect directly to each other. through a virtual private network (VPN). Under consideration is the expanded use of Carrier Ethernet which could leverage existing infrastructure thereby reducing implementation costs while providing the secure connectivity required by the various Government agencies
Internet Exchange Point
Technical support to establish an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) to allow Internet traffic to be channeled in a more efficient way by ensuring that traffic stays local and eliminates backhaul costs. This could result in improved access speeds and reduced latency as well as reduced costs to the consumer. The IXP will be expanded to include a Data center which will allow Cloud-enabled applications and services, Multi-Tennant consumption, service differentiation, Layered Security, High Availability and Comprehensive Service Management.
This component will provide targeted support for human capacity and business development assistance to nurture the regional IT and IT- enabled services sector. Funds under this component would contribute to collaboration with the private sector for business development activities including business incubation services, targeted skills development and certification programs with regional harmonization, and a pilot e-services program.
Technology/Business Incubator Services
Funds under this component would support the Government’s efforts to nurture local innovation and develop a more sustainable entrepreneurial base by providing grant funding for business development/incubator aimed at promoting the creation of a new ICT-enabled industry in the country and the region as a whole. It will also provide technical assistance for the Business Incubator/Technology centers in the form of world class facilities for training and certification. The local ICT facilities are expected to form part of a regional network of ICT Centers and Business Incubators, which will position the region as an attractive destination for ICT business. Eligibility criteria and selection processes for the grant share of project funding will be described in the Business Incubator and Grants Manual.
Skills Development and Certification Program
This component will complement on-going efforts by Government to prepare the youth for the job market (efforts through institutions such as the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the National Skills Development Centre and other accredited private institutions). The project will provide resources to train and certify youth on IT-related skills with regionally harmonized curricula (e.g. software/apps development, database management, web development) linking with businesses to ensure a market-driven approach that can generate jobs in this new industry and facilitating certification and mutual recognition of this certification at the regional level and possibly at the international level as well.
This innovative sub-component will build on work currently being undertaken through EGRIP and implemented at the regional level. Specific emphasis will be on leveraging the regional IT industry entrepreneurial base for the deployment of e-applications. The project will support a multi-purpose ID system (e-id), which will be used for all public services. It will also explore relevant mobile-based applications that can improve public service delivery. The applications developed will need to conform to regional standards on network architecture and interoperability, to allow for a fully integrated regional communications network. Given that Saint Lucia is the only country that includes this specific activity, it is currently kept at a small amount and considered a regional pilot, to be later expanded and rolled out in other countries.
Component 3: Implementation Support
This component will support, among others, the following activities and will be implemented by the Ministry of the Public Service and the Project Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Finance
1. Hiring of PIU staff and strengthening of PCU
2. Hiring of Project Coordinator
3. Training for regulator/ministry and or PIU4. Logistic support (PCs, office equipment, operating costs, audits, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and communication support)