Guyana To Go Online

Thursday, November 14, 1996 2:27 pm EST
Associated Press

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- One of the last Caribbean nations to gain access to the Internet, Guyana should be ``on-line'' by the end of the month, communications officials announced.

The U.S. Virgin Islands-based Atlantic Tele Network, which owns 80 percent of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, made the announcement after a lengthy meeting with top Guyanese officials Wednesday.

The Guyana-based Caribbean Community, a 14-member economic bloc of mostly former British colonies, has been pressuring for the move to help the country reduce telephone and other communication costs.

Seven private companies have applied to be Internet providers, while the telephone company will provide the necessary infrastructure.

Company officials did not elaborate on the nature of the contract.

Guyana Telephone and Telegraph is in the midst of a feud with the government over the proceeds from the company's sex call service. Under the system, calls are routed through Guyana using its 592-2 country code and re-sent to the place of origin as a means of skirting laws against such services in other countries.

The company, which argues it relies on revenue generated from the calls to stay afloat, has petitioned the government to raise phone rates. The Utilities Commission has not ruled on whether it would hike rates, which are among the lowest in the region.

© Copyright 1996 The Associated Press

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