Internet and underserved areas in Trinidad and Tobago
The first thing we need to do is know the underserved areas in Trinidad and Tobago. We know Flow does not cover Tobago for example. I contacted TATT as follows, does TATT have info for each ISP stating how much of the population that ISP covers. Trying to determine the underserved areas in Trinidad and Tobago. I am also contacting iGovTT and Ministry of Planning with the same question.
I am thinking that TATT should have these numbers and maps as they are developing a National Broadband Strategy and Plan. We also have related projects in this space like 3rd mobile provider, IXPs (internet exchange points), universal service fund, digital divide survey, and white space spectrum usage.
The last digital divide survey was in 2013. We are due for a new one. The digital divide survey has as one of its goals to indentify underserved areas and groups. I think we should include ISP population coverage maps in futute surveys. Wrt to white space spectrum usage, the update I got recently was that they are waiting for approval of database administrator. White space spectrum can be used to provide broadband internet, especially in rural areas, as talked about in TATT's ICT Open Forum - White Space Devices: Opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago
TATT's universal service fund and framework is there with the aim that 100% of the population should have access to telecommunications services. Smaller ISPs should be able to access this fund to provide internet access to rural areas. On the question of funding projects for internet access, someone sent this link, there is an item under FRIDA funding for Internet Access: Expanding Internet access and promoting the benefits of connectivity.
We can have an idea of who the smaller ISPs are in Trinidad and Tobago through info from ASNs assigned. I am going to share this funding info with the smaller ISPs through this blog post. We have come a long way since the days of dial up and a state monopoly. Let us keep in mind the benefits of having internet access and infrastruture as we move forward.