By Gerard Best
British Virgin Islands is stepping up efforts to get the most from its internet infrastructure.
On June 4, 2011, the British Virgin Islands became only the second country in English-speaking Caribbean to establish an internet exchange point.
Called BVI-IX, the exchange point was seen as an investment that would help the British Overseas Territory to strengthen its telecommunications infrastructure and encourage greater development of local digital content.
Last week, BVI officials announced new plans to realize that promise.
“We are engaging in what we call ‘phase two’ now,” said Elford Parsons, chief technical officer of the BVI Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, speaking to participants at the second Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum, held from June 7 to 10 in Willemstad, Curacao.
According to Parsons, BVI is now working with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), an inter-governmental telecommunications policy organisation, and US-based non-profit firm Packet Clearing House (PCH), to develop their IXP to the next level. Over the coming months, technical training and workshops focused on network security, local content and electronic commerce will be organised to help the local market realise the expected benefits.
“We are pushing forward with phase two of the IXP in BVI. Our goal is facilitate greater development of local content and local services that take advantage of the exchange point. We also now have a third player in the market and we will be working with them to sign on and participate,” Parsons said.
CTU worked in collaboration with PCH to launch BVI-IX. CTU vice president and Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool, speaking at the official launch of BVI Internet Week in Tortola in September 2015, also noted the government’s desire to build on the BVI-IX.
“Here in the Virgin Islands, we understood the importance of establishing a local IXP, and we are happy to say that we have benefitted from having one of the very first IXPs established in the region,” he said but added, “more has to be done to realize the full benefits of this development.”