Mauritius’ ICT Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth has presented the country’s five year ICT strategic plan, dubbed ‘Smart Mauritius’. According to a press release, the programme aims to introduce affordable and accessible broadband services to all people, promote innovation, improve the country’s Global Innovation Index score, achieve double-digit ICT growth and turn the country into an ICT hub. Under Smart Mauritius, the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation (MTCI) is planning to: create a second digital city in the country ‘to make ICT a key pillar of the national economy’; encourage innovation through a National Innovation Programme; offer broadband connectivity at a competitive and affordable price through substantial enhancement of the telecoms infrastructure; and create jobs to increase the employability of the youth population in the ICT sector.
The ICT Minister said: ‘We want to move from [downlink of] 1Mbps to 10Mbps for the same price in the short-term and the objective is to reach 100Mbps in five years. Work is underway with operators to enhance speed quality by keeping the price unchanged and offer value for money by ensuring that internet users can at least benefit from speeds five times higher for the same amount before the end of April 2015.’ In regards to infrastructure and international connectivity, Mr Pravind Jugnauth said that the government is determined to improve internet access through the landing of a third independent submarine fibre optic cable. Further, the official was cited by domestic news source Le Matinal as saying that the MTCI will develop a plan to connect at least 60% of households to fibre-optic networks and install 350 free Wi-Fi zones in public places by year-end.