“Once you have the right attitude being a small country would not be an impediment”, this according to Secretary General, Ms. Bernadette Lewis at the International Development Association (IDA) funded Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) Symposium to continue work on the establishment of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CTU IXP symposium, funded by the IDA of the World Bank is an initiative under the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) and was hosted by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines at the National Insurance Service, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU said, “the world has changed in ways that before were inconceivable. Like oil of the 20th century, information is the currency of 21st century life. The success of oil economies is being rivaled by that of information economies.” She added, “these changes are occurring at a phenomenal pace. In the 1980's the life cycle of telecommunications equipment was 25 years, current ICT projects see the life cycle of equipment being realized within months. We no longer have the luxury of mulling over decisions for years because for every passing day we fail to act our plans are becoming in danger of obsolescence or irrelevance..”
Moderators Bevil Wooding of Packet Clearing House and Stephen Lee a, consultant with the CTU, explained the principles, role and function of IXPs, presented the IXP Economic value proposition governance models and best practice, provided the requirements and practical steps for establishing an IXP and responded to frequently asked IXP start-up questions.IXP Post-Implementation issues with suggestions on the way forward was discussed and strategies for generating local content for an IXP and strategies for IXP operations and support were presented.
Wooding explained “IXPs are catalysts for internet-based economic activity and the development of local content. They are considered fundamental to internet growth and development.” Wooding’s presentation focused particularly on the benefits to St Vincent and the wider Caribbean. He stated “There are over three hundred internet exchange points across the world, but only a handful thus far in the Caribbean region. This has to change if local consumers are to benefit from a faster experience for domestic online services.”
The CTU, together with Packet Clearing House, is seeking to address this situation by raising awareness, promoting the benefits of national exchanges and facilitating the development process as part of its ongoing Connected Caribbean Initiative.
Mr Wooding, who is also Program Director for the CTU’s Caribbean ICT Roadshow noted “The intention of the Symposium in St Vincent and the Grenadines is to create the momentum and capacity to move the IXP development process towards rapid implementation and also lay the foundation for the IXP development stages beyond the initial implementation.”
Minister Thompson indicated “establishing an IXP is a top priority for the Government and we are committed to facilitating the process and making this a reality. He urged stakeholders’ to continue their commitment to actively participate in the development and evolution of the national IXP.”
Participants representing Internet Service Providers, Government, Regulators, Civil Society and Private Sector business came together for the two day meeting, designed to raise awareness of the technical considerations and economic and social benefits of establishing an Internet Exchange Point in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.