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Internet access is a crucial aspect of modern society, and it plays a significant role in the economic development of a country. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Guyana. Despite being a resource-rich nation with significant potential for economic growth, Guyana struggles with a lack of internet access–with a penetration rate of 38% of the population (2017), and this has held back its economic development.
One of the primary issues hindering internet access in Guyana is the high cost of broadband services. The cost of internet service in Guyana is significantly higher than in many other countries in the region, making it difficult for many people to afford. This is particularly problematic for individuals and small businesses in rural and interior areas, where access to affordable broadband is limited. It means that the citizens that live in these areas are at a significant disadvantage compared to citizens with reliable internet access on the coast.
The lack of infrastructure is another major factor contributing to the limited internet access in Guyana. The country has a relatively small population spread out over a large area, making it difficult and expensive for internet companies to build the necessary infrastructure to provide affordable and reliable internet access for all citizens. In addition, much of the infrastructure, especially in government internet hubs, that does exist is inadequate, outdated and in need of repair or replacement. This has made it challenging to expand internet access to more remote areas of the country.
The lack of internet access has had a negative impact on the economic development of Guyana. Without access to the internet, businesses in rural and interior areas are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in coastal areas. They are unable to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by the internet, such as e-commerce and online marketing, which are crucial for reaching national, regional and global markets. This has limited the growth and competitiveness of Guyana’s businesses, hindering the country’s economic development.
In addition, the lack of internet access has made it difficult for individuals in rural and interior areas of Guyana to access education and job opportunities. Many educational resources and job openings are now available online, and without internet access, it is difficult for people in Guyana to take advantage of these opportunities. This has contributed to a lack of skilled workers in the country, further hindering its economic development.
To address the issue of limited internet access in Guyana, the government and international organizations like the IDB have taken steps to improve the situation. The government has also implemented policies to encourage the development of infrastructure and increase competition in the telecommunications sector. Private companies like e-networks, Digicel and GTT have also invested in improving internet access in the country, including through the use of satellite technology and the expansion of fiber optic networks.
Despite these efforts, however, the lack of internet access remains a significant challenge for Guyana. Improving internet access will require significant investment and the continued efforts of both the public and private sectors. Until this issue is addressed, Guyana’s economic development will continue to be hindered by the lack of internet access.