In its 2005/2006 Budget Communication to Parliament, the Government forecast the establishment of an NIC framework – in part to address the recognised challenge of ensuring the nation’s human and physical capital structure is in place to accommodate and then maximise the benefits of the upsurge in the economy.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Finance is commissioning technical assistance to develop the Framework from *Consulting and Audit Canada*, CAC – an expert agency of the Canadian Government.
The National Information and Communications Framework is intended to enable The Bahamas to develop as a nation that maximizes the power, reach, versatility and innovation of information and communications technology. The Framework will provide on-line access to healthcare, education, and government services such as land registration and land use policy, and will be a driving force in developing e-commerce in The Bahamas. Currently, the land use and administration programme is assisted by the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB.
The Budget Communication pointed out that increased levels of e-commerce will enable Bahamian companies to compete in the global marketplace, and the development of a vibrant and entrepreneurial information technology sector will create employment, encourage diversification, and boost investor confidence.
A NIC Technology Policy paper will be published in due course, and will be integrated with the existing Policy Statement on Electronic Commerce and the Bahamian Digital Agenda.
The Framework also envisages the transformation of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company into a state-of-the-art communications leader. This transformation process is already the subject of intense work with the assistance of international consultants. The transformation will enhance the current operations of BTC, as well as preparing BTC for graduation into a privatized entity at the cutting edge of technological developments in communications.
BTC is proceeding urgently with the project to develop a fibre-optic cable linkage to provide all of the inhabited islands of The Bahamas with reliable and efficient connection.