What were the main digital policy regional updates in the Caribbean? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.
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26 Jul 2018 |
Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS), is stepping up its efforts to bring nano-satellite based communications to the Caribbean. The company is in discussions with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), offering to bring a full range of connectivity services to the Caribbean region which currently lacks the necessary infrastructure.
In 2017, SAS successfully launched its ’3 Diamonds’ nano-satellites as a proof of concept, with the timetable calling for the launch of 200 nano-satellites beginning next year, with full scale deployment by 2020.
Meir Moalem, chief executive and managing director of SAS said, ‘Providing affordable connectivity to the unconnected is key for driving digital inclusion and economic growth in the developing world and for tackling poverty and improving education and healthcare.’
SAS, says its nano-satellite narrowband services to the Caribbean region would be provided by its Pearls constellation once deployment commences in 2019.
10 Jul 2018 |
During the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) 39th Regular Meeting held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) announced the signing of the Protocol Amending the Treaty Establishing the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority ECTEL.
The announcement was made by Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, and will be presented to the prime ministers of the other ECTEL Member States - Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines - for consideration and signature.
This protocol aims to address the innumerable changes and issues (such as convergence between services, networks and technologies, quality of service, consumer protection, and more affordable access to retail and wholesale telecommunications services) which have taken place in the telecommunications industry since the signing of the treaty establishing ECTEL eighteen years ago.
This protocol acts as a prerequisite for the promulgation of the Electronic Communications Bill and a new suite of regulations paving the way for ECTEL to address the many issues facing the telecommunications market today.
2 Jul 2018 |
Within the framework of the ICANN 62 meeting in Panama (link is external), the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC (link is external)) and the Latin American and Caribbean Country Code Top Level Domain Organization (LACTLD (link is external)), signed an agreement allowing LACNIC to use LACTLD's (link is external) Anycast Cloud as DNS infrastructure. The signing took place on 27 June.
This agreement is another collaboration initiative between the two organisations and complements the agreement signed in December 2016 through which LACNIC participates in the administration of this project.
LACTLD's Anycast Cloud is a regional co-operation effort through which Latin America and the Caribbean’s Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) seek to enhance Internet robustness and resilience in the region.
25 Jun 2018 |
The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in Jamaica has announced that approximately 5000 smallholder farmers will benefit from technical and technological expertise to increase their capacity in implementing climate-smart agricultural practices. The farmers will be involved in a project entitled, ‘Accelerating the Uptake of Climatesmart Agriculture in selected African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries’ which is being implemented in Jamaica, Mali and Ethiopia, over a two-year period. The project is aimed at promoting the incorporation of information communications technology (ICT) tools as an element of climate-smart agriculture, and the widespread adoption of climate-smart practices that are aligned with national priorities, in an effort to improve the resilience of the agriculture sector, enhance productivity and food security, and secure the income of smallholder farmers.
20 Jun 2018 |
A Trinidadian woman who falsely claimed on Facebook that a female prison officer had abandoned her children on the roadside, must pay USD$75 000 in compensation for defamation, along with the legal costs ensured by the falsely accused prison officer. The judgement was handed down by Justice Margaret Mohammed in the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain. It is the second such judgement this year related to defamation on social media.
14 Jun 2018 |
The Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum (CarPIF) 2018 held in Belize focused on network resilience and autonomy. Bevil Wooding, Co Founder, Carpif remarked, ’Typically we would consider how to improve connections between network operators, or to get more content on local networks. But we had a 2017 Hurricane season that has left a scar on the region and we have the 2018 hurricane season that is upon us.’ This meeting looked at the role that peering plays in improving and increasing network resilience, making the networks that deliver these critical services more robust, more secure and more reliable; and what needs to happen at local and regional levels to confirm that the correct steps are taken in ensuring that the networks can rebound after a natural disaster, or withstand a cyber-attack or some other external unexpected shock.
13 Jun 2018 |
St Lucia's Department of the Public Service launched the Open Data portal on 8 June 2018. The open data process started some four years ago as part of the World Bank Open Data in the Caribbean initiative, with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The online data repository, data.govt.lc aims to ensure that all government-owned data, which does not contain personal information or create a threat to national security, is made freely available in an easily reusable format.
11 May 2018 |
The Caribbean Digital Finance and Free Trade System, CariNet, has been officially launched, applying blockchain technology to help the member countries of the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) build digital payments and digital financial infrastructures in order to create a platform for international trade. To meet the security demands of digital payments and financial systems, the CariNet Main Net plans to introduce national nodes to supervise the whole blockchain network in order for it to develop in a credible and orderly direction. The operation of the CariNet Main Net is supported from the nodes. The 15 Caribbean FTA member countries will establish a data node respectively. The establishment of CariNet is expected to bring new developments to the declining financial industry in the Caribbean by transforming the traditional tax-avoidance offshore finance, into blockchain digital finance.
8 May 2018 |
Financial institutions in Caribbean territories under the jurisdiction of the European Union are gearing up to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)by 25 May, when the regulation becomes effective.Under the GDPR, individuals have the right to access and review their personal data and ask the company collecting the information for changes, also having the right to move the data collected to another entity.The regulations will go into effect in the Caribbean’s Dutch, French and British territories, all of which fall under EU jurisdiction.Caribbean financial leaders met to discuss GDPR compliance in Suriname at an eventinitiated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
3 May 2018 |
Incarib, the only directory of Caribbean infrastructure suppliers, was launched in CHARLOTTE AMALIE, US Virgin Islands on 3 May, serving as a resource bridging the gap between private sector suppliers and government, utility and regional development agencies. Ms Lauren Thomas, Directory's Developer and Owner, said ‘Globally, the conversation has turned toward building sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure. For Caribbeancountries, it's at the top of the agenda. However, decision makers aren't always aware of state-of-the-art solutions and technologies and they don't have immediate access to the expertise. On the other hand, companies that do business or want to do business in the region in this space often find it difficult to get in front of the decision makers. InCarib bridges the gap.’InCarib.netis hoping that every company that is dedicated to enabling, sustaining, and improving Caribbean living conditions will register to get listed by visiting the website and completing the application. The site is live while the directory is being populated and will be fully operational by August 2018.
13 Apr 2018 |
Caribbean governments and regional public and private sector organisations are exploring the opportunities offered by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, to support economic growth in the region. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is the latest regional institution to embrace cryptocurrency, announcing a pact with blockchain technology company Bitt Inc. The agreement is designed to facilitate ‘the implementation of more efficient payment processes for tourism-related products and services,’ said CTO officials in a statement.
The group announced a memorandum of understanding under which Bitt’s digital wallet and merchant applications ‘will be promoted to help foster broader economic participation in community-based tourism and related sectors.’
‘The Caribbean aims to fully examine the advantages offered by new financial technology,” said Mr Hugh Riley (CTO Secretary-General). ‘In particular, blockchain financial services have the potential to advance the objectives of specific programs and activities within the tourism sector.’
5 Apr 2018 |
A new initiative to make Caribbean Internet infrastructure less vulnerable to the impact of climate change and natural disasters is gaining momentum across the region, and significant attention has been paid over the past few months to the issue of strengthening the resilience of Caribbean networks and to the development of greater technical capacity in the region.
Recent talks were held in Puerto Rico over a more collaborative approach to Caribbean communications network resilience. The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) formed a Commission on Caribbean Communications Resilience (CCCR) to identify actionable recommendations.
In the lead up to the 2018 hurricane season, CCCR commissioners met with representatives of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The meeting was designed to explore opportunities for engagement and collaboration as the region seeks pathways to increase the resilience of regional communications infrastructure during recurrent extreme natural phenomena. Both organisations shared some of the lessons learned from the historic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and focused on identifying practical recommendations so that the region’s response can be triggered in a more proactive and meaningful way.
The commission is expected to share a draft report soon, with recommendations for Caribbean governments, regulators, and communications ministries to strengthen regional communication network resilience and improve policy, infrastructure, regulation, technologies, and systems.
2 Apr 2018 |
The government of Antigua and Barbuda has finalised its decision to launch their cryptocurrency exchange. Government officials at St. John’s believe that this move will make significant contributions to the nation’s treasury and place the country ‘“on the forefront of the new system of creating wealth’. The local parliament is set to review and adopt the relevant legal framework.
Mr Melford Nicholas (Minister of Information Technology) said, ‘This proposed exchange will simplify cryptocurrency trading for a fee by bringing both the buyers as well as sellers, together. The government has expectations that the trading platform will contribute to the non-tax revenue for the budget of the island nation. By launching an exchange here, we will bring Antigua into the game, as it were, given that any potential economic spinoffs arise, we should be in the front seat.’
15 Mar 2018 |
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct a fintech pilot on blockchain technology in the ECCB member countries. The MOU was signed in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis on March 13. This pilot aims to develop a secure, resilient digital payment and settlement platform with embedded regional and global compliance; and the issuance of a digital Eastern Caribbean currency which will operate alongside the physical Eastern Caribbean currency. Both entities will work closely to develop, deploy and test technology which will help improve the risk profile of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and mitigate against the trend of de-risking by the region's correspondent banking partners.
15 Mar 2018 |
A workshop in St Vincent and the Grenadines was held in March 2018, to present a policy framework and guidelines for implementation of 21st Century Government, an initiative launched by the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) and other strategic partners in January 2018. Ms Bernadette Lewis, CTU secretary-general, stated that ‘The CTU, Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD) and other strategic partners are ready and able to work with each government to facilitate this work...’. The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, in collaboration with the CTU, hosted ICT Week – St Vincent and the Grenadines from 19 to 23 March 2018. The week has as its theme 21st Century Government, building on the foundation laid in Antigua and Barbuda. During this week, five different fora were held.
13 Mar 2018 |
The Internet Addresses Registry for Latin America and Caribbean,(LACNIC) launched an intra-regional IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) transfer service, aiming to provide the community with relevant information that will simplify IPv4 transfers. This service is available at the MI LACNIC portal, and provides: a list of organisations willing to transfer IPv4 blocks (Offering Organisations), a list of organisations wishing to receive IPv4 blocks (Receiving Organisations), and a list of organisations willing to serve as facilitators between Offering and Receiving organisations. Prior to accessing this service, it is necessary to apply as an offering, receiving, or facilitator organisation at the LACNIC portal.