November 2020

Updates:
Dominican Republic joins 5G Clean Network

The Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic Roberto Alvarez announced that the Dominican Republic will join the US Clean Network initiative which provides access to a network of telecommunications infrastructure and reliable standards of technology supply chains.

This announcement followed a meeting between President Luis Abinader and US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Keith Krach along with US Ambassador Robin Bernstein.

The Dominican Republic joins over 50 countries, 170 clean telecommunications companies, and many global high-tech companies in this project. Participation clears the way for increased US private sector investments and strengthens mutual guarantees for like-minded partners in the region and in other parts of the world.

Mastercard and Juvo team up to help underbanked build credit in LATAM and Caribbean

Mastercard and Juvo have teamed up to help underbanked Latin America and the Caribbean build credit histories and have access to a range of financial services.

Juvo has built a ‘financial identity as a service’ (FiDaaS) which enables customers to build a credit history through the analysis of alternative financial transactions. The customer profile can then be used to evaluate their eligibility for access to various services like insurance and loans. Mastercard hopes to roll out this service across the region and the companies expect millions to have greater access to financial services as consumers as they will now be better able to demonstrate creditworthiness. Juvo has used its platform to aid developing nation customers access microloans through mobile phones. Financial institutions are expected to increase the addressable market for their services at lower risks just as the pandemic’s impact on brick-and-mortar banks continues to drive demand for open banking regionally.

October 2020

Updates:
Guayana liberalises telecom sector

The Government of Guyana has issued the Commencement Orders for the Telecommunications Act 2016 and the Public Utilities Commission Act 2016 ending the 30 year monopoly of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT). The prime minister expects Guyanese citizens to immediately feel a positive impact due to the availability of greater choice and improvement both in service quality and lower prices. The legislation establishes a harmonised framework for the telecommunications sector and greater transparency in the issuance of licenses and use of spectrum. Telecommunications liberalisation is crucial to Guyana’s developmental plan and the government is committed to working with stakeholders to ensure all citizens have affordable access to various services.

Montserrat connects to subsea fibre-optic cable system

Connectivity has been re-established with the subsea fibre-optic cable system for Montserrat through collaboration between the Montserrat government and Southern Caribbean Fiber (SCF). The Montserrat Subsea Fibre Optic Project was funded by the UK funded Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG). Through the programme, fibre-optic cables connecting Montserrat to Antigua and Guadeloupe have been successfully installed. Montserrat’s fibre-optic connectivity was cut over 20 years ago following the Soufriere Hills Volcano’s eruption and all telephony and data communications have been facilitated through a microwave network to Antigua. Due to the re-establishment of connectivity, the government intends to offer more e-government services and pursue distance learning and telemedicine innovations for the benefit of citizens. The agreement between the government and the SCF will see the SCF maintaining and operating the fibre link and provide 10 years of high speed broadband Internet access for the delivery of government services at no extra cost.

September 2020

Updates:
Mastercard and WiPay partner to advance e-payments across the Caribbean

MasterCard has announced a partnership with WiPay, aiming to evolve and develop its presence in the Caribbean and drive greater financial inclusion in the islands through a suite of payment and acceptance solutions.

As part of the partnership, WiPay will: (a) leverage Mastercard’s Bank in the Box solution to empower small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through card acceptance; (b) partner with a local financial institution who will issue Mastercard prepaid cards; (c) leverage payment solutions for government programmes.

The collaborative solutions will launch in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago initially, with roll outs in Grenada, Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, and in the Bahamas, among others in the near future.

 

Trinidad and Tobago’s Town and Country Planning Division achieves major digitisation milestone

Trinidad and Tobago’s Planning and Development Minister, Camille Robinson-Regis, said another major achievement was obtained for the digitisation of its Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD) as several more regional corporations have been completely digitised. The process started in April 2020 allowing all planning permission applications of stakeholders to be processed electronically, and at the beginning of September; another important group joined the digitalised process.

Robinson-Regis said that the decision of the TCPD to fully digitise, signals the fulfilment by her ministry of the government’s mandate to modernise and digitise the country’s public service.

The DevelopTT platform aims at easing citizens’ businesses by allowing applicants to submit information electronically; track the processing of their applications; and receive decisions digitally within a short time frame. The TT Government urged citizens to register via www.developtt.gov.tt or www.ttbizlink.gov.tt.

 

July 2020

Updates:
Inter-RIR transfer is a reality in the Caribbean

On 21 July 2020, the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), announced that the policy allowing IPv4 transfers outside the region - without the need for a merger or acquisition among the companies involved - was now active.

This policy implementation represents a major technological challenge as it requires the integration of approximately 11 different systems with multiple connections between the different Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).

This new service allows organisations to offer and receive IPv4 addresses from other registries with reciprocal policies.

CSOD launches Mentorship Programme and Online Community

The Caribbean School of Data (CSOD) had a virtual launch of their mentorship programme and online community on 13 June. Jamaican students are the first to experience the advantages offered by this programme, starting in July.

The CSOD aims to expand the mentor-mentee relationship to include other Caribbean countries in the near future.

Current mentor and community volunteers are business, marketing, and technology professionals in the region and the wider diaspora.

Caribbean digital transformation project approved

The World Bank has approved a regional Caribbean Digital Transformation Project to build an inclusive digital economy worth a total of US$94 million for four Eastern Caribbean countries: Dominica (US$28 million), Grenada (US$8 million), St. Lucia (US$20 million), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (US$30 million), and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission (US$8 million).

It aims to increase access to digital services, technologies, and skills by governments, businesses, and individuals, emphasising Internet penetration and access to digital financial and public services.

The project also aims to support reforms and regional harmonisation of the legal and regulatory environment to promote investment in digital infrastructure, while addressing the risks related to cybersecurity and data protection.