Above: Trinidad (CJ Photo)
By Gerard Best
Technology experts from across the region will this week gather in Trinidad for a two-day meeting at the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) office.
Shernon Osepa, manager of regional affairs for the Internet Society (ISOC) Latin America and the Caribbean, will moderate the two-day meeting, which is called INET T&T.
ISOC is the global organization behind the local meeting.
ISOC executives Raul Echeberria and Sebastian Bellagamba, as well as Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and Technology, are expected to speak at the meeting’s opening session.
The meeting will bring together representatives from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the T&T Network Information Centre (TTNIC).
On the two-day agenda will be a look at the disruptive impact of the Internet on the telecommunications operators’ traditional business.
Experts will consider how the regional telecommunications operators can adapt their business model, as Caribbean citizens’ appetite goes further and further beyond the scope of traditional voice-call networks to encompass more broadband Internet-based services.
In July, mobile subscribers across the region complained bitterly after regional mobile operators Digicel and LIME moved to block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services over their networks.
The consensus among several Latin America and Caribbean Internet and telecommunications industry experts is that operators will continue to take advantage of consumers until stronger regulatory frameworks are built to protect Caribbean subscribers.
Issues such as the management of over-the-top services like VoIP will be come to the fore on the second day of INET T&T, in a roundtable that is to include TATT, ISOC and representatives from Internet service providers.
Another highlight of the second day of the event is a panel highlighting the urgent need for significant upgrades to critical Internet infrastructure across the region. The panel will include Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with Packet Clearing House, Jane Coffin and Christian O’Flaherty of ISOC, and Kurleigh Prescod of Columbus Communications, parent company of Flow TT.
Known more commonly as an IXP, the exchange point is a facility where networks interconnect, making it possible for Internet traffic to be exchanged between Internet service providers. IXPs increase connectivity speeds and reduce costs by keeping local Internet traffic local, reducing the operational cost associated with lengthy international traffic routes.
The meeting is also expected to give Internet users a forum to discuss online privacy and other important cyber safety issues.