‘Smart Bridgetown’ – the Government’s promised project to link people to free high-speed internet access, has been given the thumbs up by an organisation that pioneered a similar initiative nearly a decade ago.
The chair of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF), Celeste Foster, said Smart Bridgetown matched perfectly with her not-for-profit organisation’s own free Wi-Fi project that was started in late 2010 towards helping to improve business facilitation.
The first phase of the million-dollar Smart Bridgetown project, which Government said is to roll out by next month, will see free broadband Internet access being extended from the Bridgetown Port to Independence Square.
Under the project, officials are also hoping to roll out smart parking solutions, a mobile app and an augmentation programme for The City.
Foster declared Barbados the “most connected island in the western hemisphere” as a result of the BEF’s project.
The foundation reported that at the end of 2013, the island had achieved a 93 per cent penetration through meeting the target of ensuring free Wi-Fi is within a one-kilometre range of each resident.
Foster said Government’s plan of transforming the capital into a smart city was most welcome.
She said: “When we started out we had a vision 2020… and we are talking about a smart Bridgetown which is one of our pillars.
“We are so pleased because we had gone on to have smart bus stops and the BEF was behind that, the driving force behind getting the Wi-Fi at bus stops.
“So we have been behind it quietly. And we are very pleased to see this particular initiative.”
“We are able now to say we are ticking off the boxes as we approach 2020 and we have been able to achieve several of those goals that we set out to do.”