July 2020

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.

June 2020

Antigua & Barbuda pass Digital Assets Business Bill 2020

On 18 June, Antigua and Barbuda formally added the Digital Assets Business Bill 2020 to its statutes books providing a new regulatory framework for stakeholders in the digital assets industry including businesses, clients, and customers. Antigua is quickly emerging as a global stakeholder for Bitcoin SV and other digital assets. The bill is expected to provide more trust and credibility to the sector. The Bayesian Group and Bitcoin Association advised the government on the legislation. The bill defines various types of digital assets beyond currency equivalents and it is expected that  more real assets will be tokenised using blockchain technology in the future.

Data Protection Act passed in Jamaica

The Data Protection Act, 2020, a bill designed to protect the privacy and personal information of Jamaican citizens, was passed by the Senate on 12 June. This bill had been previously approved by the Lower House on 19 May and was given the go ahead by the senators with three amendments. At the end of the bill’s debate, the government committed to a public education programme during the transitional period of two years before the bill comes into effect. This transitional period will allow all data controllers time to implement the necessary measures.

May 2020

Cable & Wireless measures and developments to support Caribbean during COVID-19 pandemic

With so many people affected by COVID-19 and experiencing significant challenges as a result, Cable & Wireless (C&W) responded by implementing measures and developments to protect and support the Caribbean people, customers, communities, and governments.

Some of the measures are:

  • The launch of virtual stores to provide customers with options to access their services
  •  Zero-rated key access numbers for select critical calls, websites, and services
  • Free access to educational content for more than 130 000 students
  • Network capacity increase at no additional cost to customers, to meet the increased demand for bandwidth and speed needed for teleworking and virtual learning
  • LTE coverage improvements to support the increased demand
Caribbean Video Assistance Service to assist people with disabilities

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), is working with VTCSecure, a global organisation, to introduce the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS) for the deaf and blind, first to Trinidad and Tobago, and then to other Caribbean countries.

A CVAS pilot, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, was launched on 4 May 2020. It will enable those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and who use sign language, to communicate with persons who can hear via a sign language interpreter (agent), and in the case of blind persons, to receive assistance from agents when they need the help of someone who can see.

COVID-19 has caused mobility and financial disruptions for everyone, something many people with disabilities experience every day.

Technology such as CVAS, makes it possible to provide solutions for mobility challenges and other difficulties that people with disabilities face.

April 2020

COVID-19 virtual screenings via mobile phones in Cuba

The University of Computer Sciences (UCI) along with the Ministries of Communications and Public Health have developed a mobile application, Pesquisador Virtual, that allows every citizen with mobile data to report on their health in Cuba. The initiative is expected to support wider screening activities that are being conducted across the island country. 

This is a result of the Coronavirus and is expected to help authorities to detect persons with symptoms faster with real time analysis of the data entered by medical professionals in each region. The mobile app can be accessed either through the Ministry of Health’s network or via the Cuban app store Apklis. The user registration process will retain enough personal information for health professionals to contact citizens if needed. Then they will be asked to fill out a simple survey that tracks symptoms, any contact with infected persons, and travel history.

Telecom service providers offer education rates

Telecom providers in the British Virgin Islands will support education by offering special discounted Internet packages to students to facilitate online learning. Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley announced the discounts following talks with service providers. One of the telcos is also providing laptops to different educational institutions. Two telecom providers will provide zero-rate access to specific websites that provide educational content for local consumption. The ministry is continuing discussions on other ways telecom operators can provide support. Other organisations have donated laptops to students without access to devices and the private sector is encouraged to support the ministry’s Adopt-a-School programme so that more students can afford digital learning.