The Smart Bridgetown project, which includes free public WiFi, has been delayed another three months, the Government’s information technology chief has told Barbados TODAY.
The free WiFi, which is the first phase of the project, was originally scheduled to begin by the end of last year.
But a delay in obtaining a vendor to offer the service has forced officials to set a new implementation date of the second quarter of this year, said Rodney Taylor, the director of the Data Processing Department in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.
He said the tendering process was now closed and officials were in the process of choosing a suitable provider.
About a dozen domestic and overseas IT firms submitted bids to provide the service for the community WiFi phase of the project.
Taylor told Barbados TODAY: “There were some delays with respect to the public tender.
“The tender has closed and we are in the stages of evaluating the tenders we received.
“And we hope that by the end of the financial year, which is March, we are able to sign off on a vendor and start with the implementation of that.”
Under phase one, free broadband internet access being extended from the Bridgetown Port to Independence Square.
And with officials now considering adding new areas including the planned Fairchild Street market, the free Wi-Fi could stretch from the Jewish Synagogue in Magazine Lane to Golden Square in Jordans Lane.
The next phase of Smart Bridgetown is “smart parking” which will use a smartphone app to locate available spaces in Bridgetown and pay for parking electronically, said Taylor.
Smart Bridgetown was allocated about $1 million to get it started.