Extending Access to the Internet under the USF: Bridging the Access Gap
Port Louis: Access to the Internet will be widened to more citizens under a project called the Deployment of Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) Network in Mauritius and Rodrigues. This project has been made possible through the Universal Service Fund. The project emanates from a Government decision with a view to making access to the Internet a basic citizen’s right.
The ICT Authority today completed the bidding exercise open to all licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with a view to designating the ISP that would provide universal service. The designated ISP will have to develop WiFi access network in ten regions across Mauritius and Rodrigues: the five municipal councils and four district councils (Mauritius) and the Marechal Youth Advisory Bureau in Rodrigues. For citizens who do not have the required terminal equipment to access the Internet over the WiFi, five workstations with Internet access will be set up in each of these ten regions to cater for their needs. The provision constitutes the first phase of the project. The aim of the Deployment of Wireless Fidelity Network project is to extend free access to the Internet.
As provided under the law, the ICT Authority launched a bidding exercise open to all licensed ISPs to designate the service provider that would install, provide and maintain WiFi access. The bid was launched after a number of site visits were conducted and meetings held at the Ministry of ICT and the Authority as well as comprehensive consultation with the Local Authorities. The deadline for submission of bids was 30th November 2011; the bids were opened on the same day in the presence of the bidders.
The ICT Authority has as one of its functions to manage the Universal Service Fund. The Fund was set up in October 2008 under ICTA (Universal Service Fund) Regulations 2008 (as amended) (GN 206/2008). The project is in line with the Authority’s target for universalisation of access to the Internet.
20th January 2012 (For Immediate Release)