Tuesday, January 16, 2018

TATT: Citizens to benefit from increased wi-fi in public spaces

Chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) Gilbert Peterson has said that Trinidad and Tobago is expected to benefit from 45 Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. He also said TATT is moving with speed towards the licencing of White Space Devices (WSDs0 by September 2017.

Peterson made these comments at Internet of Things (IOT) Smarter Living In The Caribbean Forum at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, recently.

Among those present were Minister of Public Administration and Communications Maxie Cuffie, International Telecommunications Union Area Representative Cleveland Thomas and Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General Caribbean Telecommunication Union.

The forum’s objectives included discussing the role of IOT in relation to converging technologies for building smart sustainable communities with integrated ecosystems. IOT also focused on developmental challenges and the paradigm shift in creating a smart world that facilitates sustainable economic development along with quality lives.

Peterson said: “In June 2008, TATT began the process for universal service towards 100 per cent of the population accessing basic telecommunications and broadcasting services by issuing its first consultative draft document. Not only do we have the relevant regulation, but, we are working to bring Wi-Fi access. The first phase, will see the deployment of free public Wi-Fi hotspots at 45 specific locations throughout T&T. Locations are waiting areas at public hospitals, major transportation hubs, water taxi and ferry docking areas and public libraries.”

Peterson added: “In another attempt to connect the unconnected, TATT is moving with speed towards the licencing of White Space Devices (WSDSs) by September 2017. We hope WSD technology will help to close the digital divide and provide a medium for more people to benefit from IOTs.”

Interconnect region
Tracing communications history, Peterson said: “About 15 years ago, communication devices functioned independently of each other-the television set, radio, stereo players, telephone and computer with Internet access. Then came the era of convergence, allowing the function of these technologies to be accessed across devices through a single mobile device. We are now going a step further, and, connecting disparate devices, such as Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), household appliances, light bulbs, smart switches, farming and health technologies among others which are ushering us into the era of IOT.”

Peterson added: “By 2013, the concept moved into the realm of actuality with a system using multiple technologies, including the Internet. According to ITU, IOT involves the interlinking of networks, devices and data that have thus far never been linked. It is the collective power of these formerly disparate elements that lie at the heart of the integrated dynamic ICT ecosystems that can benefit from developed and developing economies.”

Moving to the Caribbean connection, Peterson said: “Caribbean nations fall into the category of developing economies. Such economies must of necessity seamlessly interlink and interface within a rapidly transforming digitally connected world. IOT forum is a timely platform for regulators, governments, providers and other related stakeholders to think strategically about the next steps towards becoming an interconnected region.”

Peterson also said Caribbean governments must continue the quest to bridge the digital divide, by assisting those who are economically challenged and unable to pay for technology devices and services. IOT also has to find solutions for people unable to access basic services due to remote geographical areas that don’t receive Internet services, differently abled, and, people unable to afford assistive technologies.

He said the issue of “connecting the unconnected” took place at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Union’s event in Dubai.

Peterson also expressed hope that IOT will not only increase technology ranking status, but generate increased revenues with the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.