Cost is Irrelevant, But Speed Not!
Highway Africa News Agency (Grahamstown)
23 August 2007
Posted to the web 23 August 2007
By Gervais J. Henrie
A leading Seychellois ICT pioneer is offering options to the government on how best to finance the country’s quest to get connected to a regional submarine fibre optic cable project.
Marc Hoareau the man credited with connecting Seychelles to the World Wide Web, says the private sector which is the sole provider of ICT services in Seychelles should be the principal backers of this national ambition.
“First and foremost, it’s right, because at the end of the day it’s not the government that’s providing telecom services to Seychelles. It’s simple. It’s Cable & Wireless. It’s Intelvision. It’s Airtel and even Kokonet,” says Hoareau.
In a recent interview, the minister responsible for ICT Jacquelin Dugasse said the project will cost between $US35 and 40 million.
Mr Hoareau points out that Seychellois companies are currently paying satellite companies around $US25, 000 monthly for bandwidth.
“So why should I give IntelSat $US300, 000 a year if I was part of this project,” he states.
Mr Hoareau also offered the introduction of an ICT tax as a mean to repay a loan that Seychelles can borrow to invest in the venture.
“It’s very simple. The people of Seychelles would understand. This is a tax and the benefits are huge. It’s not just for businesses in Seychelles, but for our future.”
Thirdly Mr Hoareau who’s the CEO of the leading ITC training centre locally has challenged prominent financial institutions to support the country’s next ICT development stage.
“What’s the point of having a new port, if we’re not going to have the telecommunication part to bolster fishing in the region? Tourism, you have new hotels being built. There’s online reservation into Seychelles. We have to be connected. We cannot continue to use satellite.”
The government recently revealed an ambitious plan for the next ten years dubbed Strategy 2017 in which ICTs have been identified as the backbone of any future development.
“I think any government today that is smart enough to look at the future of their own country must realize that without Internet, without telecommunication, without the speed for us to process information, we’re going to be left way behind. So to me it’s something that needs to be done and as far as I’m concerned, the cost is irrelevant,” concluded Mr. Hoaureau.