A 2017 report along with a data chart in the largest and most influential broadsheet newspaper in the UK, the Daily Telegraph, has disgracefully given Guyana and Venezuela something in common to talk about, outside of their border issues.
According to the data in the usually reliable national newspaper, both countries share a strange relationship as having the most unreliable and worst internet connection speeds in the developing world.
Arguably side by side with Venezuela for the slowest in South America, Guyana also took the trophy as having the slowest internet connection in the entire Caribbean, with even Haiti enjoying internet speeds of almost three to four times faster than the average internet user in Guyana.
Though not surprising, the reported data can still put a serious dent on all of the brouhaha and excitement over the promotion of high speed internet by lead telecommunications and data services provider GTT, whose claimed internet speed bandwidth has been greatly downplayed by US streaming TV giant Netflix, via its fast.com remote testing of GTT’s internet servers.
(NOTE: You can download the direct primary report here – which is a large pdf file for mobile, or see link to UK newspaper article below)
The slow internet situation in Guyana can also significantly affect economic growth, educational development, and certainly slow down investors confidence in the country’s readiness to effectively embrace technology.
With slow and disruptive internet service being a commonality in Guyana for years, customers have been repeatedly complaining about unexplained disruptions of their data services from GTT and Digicel.
The situation at even some private internet service providers also did not offer up anything that was much different from the internet service disruptions that GTT’s DSL customers were already experiencing.
But even so, desperation has forced many to resort to any other means in order to fulfill their quest for a stable and bandwidth reliable internet connection.
With 5G internet service being examined for introduction in the rest of South America and the Caribbean over the next 12 to 24 months, Guyana has still been struggling to realistically offer up even the basic 3G internet service in its real sense.
At least one member of Parliament is on record as describing the 3G service that was unveiled by both Digicel and GTT as worst than a 1G.
Neither companies were offering a realistic 3G service at the time, and provided no explanation as to why they were selling their mobile internet packages as 3G, knowing fully well that it was not so.
The only related explanation provided basically said that they were in the initial stages of making the 3G service a reality, which still hasn’t been truly functional up to this day.
For years now, Guyanese citizens have been repeatedly expressing their weariness at having to rely on one major data services provider, and have been pressing the government to quickly bring in real competition.
However, APNU/AFC Telecommunications Minister Mrs. Cathy Hughes had dashed their hopes by insisting that a breakaway from GTT’s monopoly and telecommunications stranglehold on the economy is far from over, since there are several other outstanding issues that have to be addressed.
As result, many social commentators were quick to ask, whose side of the table the Minister is really on.
It remains unclear as to whether any new major telecommunications or data service provider would be allowed into the market, even provisionally, in the near future.