TECH ROUND UP

Minister of Communications Outlines ICT Plans for St. Kitts & Nevis 

Speaking on this week's edition of the Government's Information programme “Working for You”, Minister with responsibility for Communications the Hon. Vincent Byron outlined some of the plans his ministry has. 

Minister Byron outlined that one of the ministry's priorities is to have every household in the Federation connected to Broadband internet by the end of its first term in office.

He also expressed a desire to see a number of e-Government services made available to citizens.

 

Bajans Urged to Leverage Technology to Improve the Economy 

Dr. Nicholas Brathwaite, Technology Expert, Investor, Innovator and Entrepreneur, has called on Bajans to stop getting bogged down with themes and actually set goals and a plan to move Barbados forward. When that happens, he will be a part of this effort to see Barbados achieving high growth rates.

Brathwaite, addressed a packed house at the Frank Collymore Hall for the 40th Sir Winston Scott Memorial lecture, and stated: “I would like goals to be set, instead of focusing on themes such as ‘Working together to building a better Barbados’, what is that? Why don’t we set goals like tripling our GDP in the next 15 years; develop a plan to leverage technology, innovation and entrepreneurship to achieve that goal? I would come back and be a part of that.

“Our world has changed dramatically over the last few decades, but if we don’t take action, we stand the risk of being globally insignificant. We continue to focus on FDI and Tourism and those are important and necessary, but we have to start shifting our attention. Economic Transformation in the Caribbean requires we become more globally competitive. I believe technology is a great driver of the economy... In the last several decades, the Technology sector has continued to outperform the rest of the economy. Technology has a greater multiplier effect than almost any other business you can choose. 

The entrepreneur added, “Technology is the key to significantly improving productivity in Barbados, but to do so we have to rapidly accelerate the rate at which we adopt technology. While things are rapidly changing around us, some of our governments and institutions and many of our businesses remain philosophically tied to old and traditional practices that have long outlived their usefulness. Traditions are important ... but we can’t allow some of these Stone Age traditions to keep us down.

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High Internet and Mobile Data Charges Hampering Business Development  in Jamaica

That is the position of Professor of Communications Policy and Digital Media at the University of the West Indies, Dr Hopeton Dunn, who has raised concerns that the high cost of Internet access and mobile data charges may be hampering the ability of Jamaicans to use the Internet for innovation driven activities.

Responding to questions from the The Gleaner, Dunn pointed out several weaknesses in Jamaica’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Dunn said, Jamaica currently benefits from access to a robust global ICT network and diverse content providers. “We are connected. But there are not enough Jamaicans using broadband services for business development, content creation and economic growth. Part of the reason for this is the high cost of Internet access, including mobile data charges,” he said.

According to Prof. Dunn, the developments in the global ICT sector will, introduce competition from Internet-based telecom and content providers which is likely to alter the sector's business model significantly.

“We have to create the legislative and policy environment to manage these changes. Indications of these trends have long been evident the availability of voice over Internet (e.g. Skype) calls and now in the area of roaming. Given the emergence of packet switched systems, the cost of roaming with data transfer should be trending dramatically down,” he added. 

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