A draft Digital Strategy for St Helena has today been issued for public consultation.
The aim of having a Digital Strategy in place for St Helena is to take the Island forward and move it in line with the outside world through improvements in the Island's health, education, economy and communications.
Assistant Chief Secretary, Paul McGinnety, explains:
The vision of the draft digital strategy is to improve connectivity with the world and make economic and social progress for our community now and for future generations.
We recognise that Sure is currently providing broadband services that are completely in line with their commitments under their licence and are doing so without any public funding. Sure is an important stakeholder in this process, not least because they have the in-depth knowledge and understanding of what is possible from a technical and cost perspective. Sure is helping us to understand the feasibility of the options that may be available to improve the speeds and prices of broadband services in St Helena, including the option of a marine fibre cable.
Any investment in broadband infrastructure for St Helena must improve connection speed, increase download capacity and decrease cost to the consumer on the Island. In this way the initial benefits will be spread across the Island. Beyond that a better internet connection will:
Increase the performance of the local economy, encourage economic diversification and improve job opportunities for local people
Provide an improved education service, supporting the development of skills, creativity and life-long learning
Improve health delivery on the Island by harnessing more cost-effective telemedicine options
Mean improved, more productive, and sustainable public services
Improved communications will also enable health and education services to improve through telemedicine for example.
Paul further explained:
The demands on connectivity on the Island are going to increase and this demand must be met to enable the Island to progress further.
The availability of fast broadband services would help the education, health, government services, and consumer sectors, and so we are currently trying to establish what options are available to us, their costs and how they may be funded.
Other benefits arising from improved digital communications on St Helena is the potential for inward investors to set up ground stations on the Island.
The draft Digital Strategy is now available on the SHG website under the Public Consultations section of the Publications page: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/. Hard copies will also be made available at the Customer Service Centre and Public Library in Jamestown.
Source: St Helena Government