The Dominican Republic is going to invest millions of dollars in an ambitious program aimed at stimulating the digital economy and generating thousands of jobs in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
Last week, President Danilo Medina Sánchez kick started this Digital Republic program. Starting next year, the government will distribute free computers to 950,000 students and teachers in public educational institutes.mThe initiative includes providing computer training to students.
To support the program, government will install 500-kilometers of fiber optic cable, getting internet access to 70 percent of the population.
While announcing the program, the president stated that his goal is to digitalize the public administration, making the government transparent and cutting bureaucratic red tape.
If everything went according to the plan, the initiative will accelerate internet access in the country from the current 23.6% of the population to 70% over the next four years. Moreover, the government is hopeful that revamped telecom infrastructure would decrease the broadband service cost by 30%.
Government will also set up free Wi-Fi hotspots in public locations, including 5,600 schools, hospitals, and parks as well as the metro train stations in Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic currently has 542 km of fiber optic cables. Work is underway for 255 km more, while another 499 km are in the bidding process. The president is optimistic that fiber optic cables will one day connect all provinces with high-speed internet network.
Quoting officials who participated at the event, some Spanish papers reported that the government wants to create e-commerce sites, like Amazon, to promote and sell domestic products online. The Caribbean island, which reported 7% growth in GDP for 2015, has the fastest-growing economy in the Americas.