Work has commenced on a computer network project envisaged to link up all the country’s island councils at an anticipated cost of about Rf7,000 per island, Transport and Communication Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed has said.
Local media has reported that the project, which forms part of an agreement between the Local Government Authority (LGA) and the National Centre for information (NCIT), represents a Rf16 million development over the next few years to eventually provide connectivity between some 209 councils.
However, Shamheed disputed the reported costs, telling Minivan News that work to connect all island councils though a network was “not a huge project” and had been devised to improve communications with other islands and government authorities.
“We are being offered up to 50 percent discounts by groups like Wataniya and Dhiraagu,” he said, anticipating that the project “would cost about Rf7,000 per island.”
According to the Sun Online news service, the government has committed to connect 209 councils to the network over the lifetime of the project.
According to Shamheed, local telecoms providers Dhiraagu and Wataniya are expected to provide technical at discounted rates in order to assist the project.
In a contract signed this week, Dhiraagu committed to assist the NCIT in linking 100 islands to the network. Wataniya is also expected to sign a similar contract in the next week as well, Sun has reported.
An estimated 50 islands are reportedly scheduled to be linked to the network by the end of 2012.
Shamheed added that communication from many local councils around the country was presently being carried out by fax or mail. He claimed that aside from the provisional hardware to help improve connectivity on islands, special software would also be provided to aid councillors in undertaking their work.