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He sat across from me, fingers linked as he reclined in the chair. Confident and deliberate, Garry Gore, Chairman of Marine EcoSystems Protected Area Trust (MEPA), is a gentleman and he is a business man. He makes time to pencil in our discussion as an enthused patron. He awaits my first question; calm, cool and collected.

We can comfortably describe Mr. Gore as technosavy. Over the years he has moved between internet service providers given that a fast and reliable connection is vital in both his professional and personal life. “To me, the internet is like an essential service, it’s like electricity, it’s like water to my home. I’ve reached a stage now that I cannot live without it”.

When asked why he chose inet, the Chairman had this to say, “At times I was running 2 services at the same time for a comparative analysis and none of them seemed to work out for me. Eventually, I tried the APUA service via the telephone line.” Digital Subscriber Line or internet via telephone line is the primary conduit for inet’s reliable service. However, as pioneers in the local telecommunications industry, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) is the most recent addition to inet’s suite of service offerings which provide the fastest speeds on island. Fibre optics is a complex technology which utilizes hair-like fibres with a glass core to transmit data at the speed of light. Perfect for a fully automated home much like Mr. Gore’s. “When I learnt of the new service, the internet via Fibre (in 2016) that was when I subscribed to the service and I have been using that service for maybe a month and a half and so far I’m really happy with it.”

“I can control virtually nearly everything from my cell phone,” he says. “I can turn all the lights on, I can turn the security system on, and I can turn it off. I can open the gate. I can let someone in if I want to if I’m not at home. I can know when someone presses the doorbell at my home.”

With 20 mbps up speed and 10 mbps down speed FTTH, these features are ideal to meet the demand for the transmission of large amounts of data for Mr. Gore’s organization.

“Back in 2008, Governments in the region got together and they realized that we were losing a lot of our near coast reefs to climate change…” They came to a decision that by 2020 they wanted to preserve their near coast reefs and also set up a sustainable financing mechanism so we can finance protected areas indefinitely. The marine eco system is one of that sustainable finance trust fund set up in Antigua. It is set up in St. Kitts, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Grenada.

MEPA, a Not for Profit Company, is an outcome of a 2011 World Bank Funded Project called the Sustainable Financing & Management of Eastern Caribbean Marine Ecosystem Project. This project was implemented by The Nature Conservancy and ended on the 31st December 2016. It is envisioned to be a core National Mechanism for sustained financing to support local community environmental initiatives. Furthermore, it awards grants to support a wide range of both marine and terrestrial conservation-related activities.

With a heavy mandate to preserve the national natural resources, inet is happy to provide a service which supports the needs for an impactful cause to identify the financial cost and initiative to expand the current Protected Areas System to achieve 20% of Antigua and Barbuda marine and coastal area under effective management.  •

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