There's an ICT Roadshow which is coming to a city or town center near you.

It started off today in Belize city where there was a discussion of ICT and an ICT fair to give regular folks the chance to interact with technology.

IT was held at the ITVET campus and we had to chance to get a number of perspectives - including the official position - which is that technology is transformative and should be in the hands of as many people as possible:..

Bernadette Lewis, Sec. Gen. Caribbean Telecom Union
"In our work in the countries across the region we have found that there is a fundamental lack of understanding and Telecom union appreciation of how information and communication technologies could be effectively incorporated in every endeavor to transform and it is because of this that we undertook this Caribbean ICT Roadshow initiative to bring to ordinary citizens - to bring to the largest cross section of the national community how information and communication technologies can be incorporated effectively to transform."

Dr. Colin Young, CEO - Ministry of Energy/Science/Technology/Public Utilities
"This show is geared to essentially do two things, one; to take ICT to these communities to show people about the benefits of ICT and, two; to create the support among the stakeholders for the ministry's initiative as we try to find a public and private partnerships to assist us in taking ICT and energy to some of these communities."

"We want to get to the people who perhaps have never used any technology before. We want to get to the "unconverted" to show them the benefits of the technology that is available. ICT -Information Communication Technology is a lot more than just the internet and so we want to take these technologies so that they can see the power that they have."

Dwight Gillett
"People are not going to go into your store. People are afraid to into your bank. People are afraid to find out anything about technology in a close environment. I believe the approach this time is to take the technology to them, let them come to this Roadshow and Belize Bank and the others that are out there BTL and Smart - they will demonstrate how to use the technology and that would maybe lay some of the fears down that people have in using technology."

"Stann Creek is tomorrow at the ITVETT and after that we go directly to the public. We go to the food market in Orange Walk on Thursday and on Friday we go to the fruits and vegetable market in San Ignacio - that's direct impact with the public."

So, it moves to the ITVET in Stann Creek tomorrow and will be in the Market Plazas in Orange Walk and San Ignacio on the following two days.

BTL - will be a part of those presentations - and today their Public Relations Manager told us what they were showing:..

Anjali Vasquez, PR Manager - BTL
"So far we've had students come in and they've been pretty excited - if you can look right behind me there is this beautiful display of the way internet authenticates - something that we don't get to see every day, so kids have been really curious about that."

"We are also doing our 4G simulation which is something that we are carrying around the country just because we want people to experience what it means to have super-fast speeds on their phones and we've got gorgeous phones out here too - just kind a to show what that could feel like on a great phone."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay, but now we'll argue because 4G, one thing is really super-fast speeds - but you are telling me like super-fast third world speeds because the speeds on that 4G are 2megs download/1meg up right?"

Anjali Vasquez, PR Manager - BTL
"We are at the point where we are simulating. Right we are rocking beyond 4, but to clarify this is a simulation - that means that when we actually deploy the network and we can have your handset connect to that GSM network, we can talk to you about actual speeds on the phone. Right now we are looking at least 10 times the speeds of what you are getting today on your handset."

Jules Vasquez
"Yes, but what I am getting today on my handset is a speed that emulate something that was available maybe in the 80s in the first world - it's like 56kb."

Anjali Vasquez, PR Manager - BTL
"Right now we are on the edge network and the edge network is somewhere between 128k - 256k usually."

Jules Vasquez
"Do you accept the arguments that if the speed right now is negligible 10-20 times that may sound appealing just on an exponential basis but in real terms it doesn't amount to a whole lot because you are talking 1megs or 2megs that's not what people expect from 4G."

Anjali Vasquez, PR Manager - BTL
"Let's talk about expectations then Jules because honestly a 1meg or 2meg connection to your handset is a fantastic speed. Think about it - every single website that is being developed today is made to work on a 512k - 1meg connection at optimum speeds; YouTube will not buffer on a 1meg connection. You will see high resolution videos on a 1meg connection. You will be able to listen to internet radio without that pause on a 1meg connection, so if we are going to talk about experience - the experience will be an excellent one for the consumer."

And while BTL pushes 4G - the ministry of public utilities is concerned that most household sin Belize do not even have 1g - that is, they don't have internet access.

The CEO underscored this shortcoming and says it has to be addressed.

Dr. Colin Young, CEO - Ministry of Energy/Science/Technology/Public Utilities
"We recognize that we have a very low penetration rate of internet in Belize. In fact 10% in Belize compare to Costa Rica which is 30%, Barbados have a 70%. We also know that Belize District is the district with the highest penetration rate with internet with households and that's 20%. No other district is above 10%. If we are to look at how ICT can be used to transform our national development and we realize that 90% of our houses in these districts don't have internet in the household - it shows us where we need to go in terms of increasing the access as well as increasing the affordability of internet."

Bernadette Lewis, Sec. Gen. Caribbean Telecom Union
"This evolution of information and communication technology - it has change the balance of power - it has democratize the power of having access to information, so that you no longer have to go to the library but you could stay at home and the information of the ages is literally at your fingertips."

"But citizens in order to experience that dynamic they must be able to access the internet affordably and they must have the facilities that would enable them to take advantage of the information that is available and having that - the power to access that information it puts a whole different spin on things but it is really about creativity and not an understanding that the business model of the 20th century is anachronistic to the capabilities of the potential of the technology and giving the appropriate responds. Voice is a commodity, understand that voice over IP is a fact of life, so what is my business going to be and those are some of the questions that service providers need to ask in this environment."

The Roadshow is being held under the theme: Harnessing the Power of Innovation - the engine for ICT enabled Caribbean development.

Channel 7