Why the Caribbean Needs to Strengthen Its Internet Infrastructure

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - July 19, 2017

CJ Contributor

PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten—The Caribbean will have to strengthen its Internet infrastructure if it is to keep pace with the world’s growing digital economy.

That’s the view held by Bevil Wooding, an Internet Strategist with US-based non-profit Packet Clearing House, an organisation providing operational support and security to critical Internet infrastructure around the world.

Speaking to an audience of telecoms sector executives and government officials at the Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum in Phillipsburg, St Maarten, Wooding contrasted the high speed of change in the global Internet landscape with the relatively slow pace of Internet infrastructure development in the Caribbean.

He cited he recent Visual Networking Index from technology hardware giant Cisco, which estimates that by 2021, more than one billion new Internet users and 10 billion new devices will more than triple global Internet traffic. Video will account for 82 per cent of all traffic, mobile will represent 20 per cent, and online gaming will be the fastest-growing residential Internet service.  Gamers and other users will enjoy much faster service, as broadband speeds will practically double, from 24.7 Mbps in 2015 to 47.7 Mbps.

But while the rest of the world rushes to cash in on those lucrative markets, Wooding says the Caribbean faces a real risk of being left behind. A major factor, he said, is the persistently slow pace of Internet infrastructure build-out across the region.

“Faster, bolder steps must be taken if the region is to seize the development opportunities that the Internet economy offers. The translation time between talk and action must be dramatically shortened,“ he said.

Telecommunications service providers aren’t the only firms that will need to upgrade their hardware. Government ministries and private companies across the region will also have to invest more heavily and wisely in the technology underlayer that drives modern digital economies as well.

“The cost of infrastructure build-out is too important and the timing too significant to leave to private-sector decision-making alone. Governments and private sector investors will need to form far more fruitful partnerships if the Caribbean is to effectively drive technology-enabled business innovation, social inclusion and economic development,” he said.

He also predicted that the global economy will become increasingly unforgiving to regions with failing and outdated infrastructure, particularly small-island developing states like those in the Caribbean.

“Computer networks, mobile broadband, and Internet-connected services are now an essential feature of the modern digital economy. Neither businesses, governments nor citizens can ignore this reality.  Important decisions about network build-out, human capacity building, and network security are no longer the sole preserve of traditional telecommunications providers. These issues are now the concern and the responsibility of governments, businesses and individuals at every level.”

Hosted by the Internet Society, Packet Clearing House and the Caribbean Network Operators Group, the Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum brought experts and execs into a common space to discuss Internet infrastructure from a Caribbean perspective on July 5 and 6.

Popular Posts all-inclusive montego bay resort by marriott

Marriott Just Opened Its New All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay 

Marriott has continued its rapid expansion into the Caribbean all-inclusive space with the debut of its newest adults-only resort in Montego Bay: the new Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.  The 352-room resort is part of […]

Yes, You Can Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in St Thomas, USVI

the beach at the bolongo bay resort

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas may be the most popular all-inclusive resort you’ve never heard of. It’s not that the resort itself isn’t well-known: this family-run and managed, beach resort has been in business since 1974. But […]

The 15 Best Spa Resorts in the Caribbean

como parrot cay

Resort spas have become almost as common as fitness centers on amenity lists, but while it’s simple enough to carve out some space for a few treatment rooms, there are some spas that offer a true “experience” to go along […]

Related Posts riu cancun

Frontier Airlines Just Restarted This Nonstop Flight to Cancun 

Another day, another Frontier Airlines flight to Cancun. The fast-growing carrier has restarted another nonstop route to the Mexican Caribbean hotspot, this time with daily nonstop service from Detroit.  Detroit-Cancun flights are now operating once every day, with intro fares […]

The Grand Cayman Marriott Is Getting New-Look Rooms (And Some With Bunk Beds)

people floating on seven mile beach

One of the Cayman Islands’ signature places to stay is getting an upgrade: the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort.  The Seven Mile Beach property has begun what it’s calling an “extensive renovation of rooms and suites,” according to a statement from […]

Tiger Woods Is Making His Golf Return in Nassau 

the albany golf course with bunker

Tiger Woods is set to make his return to professional golf at his HERO World Challenge tournament in Nassau.  Woods has not played since the 2023 Masters, from which he withdrew in the third round and then underwent fusion surgery […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You