Barbados is implementing a number of initiatives aimed at moving its information and communications technology (ICT) programme forward.
According to Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce, these include the finalisation of the broadband strategy; developing a universal service fund; and expanding work on cyber security.
Work will also start on the implementation of local number portability, and steps are being taken to upgrade parts of the Telecommunications Act and other legislation pertinent to ICT.
Senator Boyce, who is president of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), addressed the issue during this week’s ICT Barbados Conference taking place at the Crane Resort under the auspices of the CTU.
He said that departments in Government that had responsibility for these various initiatives were cooperating, and Barbados was also collaborating with the CTU and CARICOM member countries.
“Through that cooperation, we are making good progress on optimising our spectrum management, for example. And, we will soon make some important announcements for LTE services by all mobile carriers in the country.”
Senator Boyce also stressed the importance of a regional policy in respect of ICT, and suggested such a policy should focus on collaboration to support regional strength in international negotiations, cyber security and additional resilience in telecommunications access to each other and to the rest of the world.
Emphasis should also be placed on internet governance on a regional basis, and control of the regional air space, for example, for satellite transmissions, he said.
In respect of regional cooperation, he explained: “My interest is not particularly great in respect of large, monolithic regional projects that include all countries at the same time but do not have clear accountability and ownership between countries, and move at the pace of the slowest country.”
Instead, the CTU President said, what he was looking for was a set of modular projects, each of which was adopted and owned by a specific country, and which was taken up with the appropriate changes by other countries as they were able. “In this way, the countries share experiences, lessons and best practices learnt in these projects,” he maintained.
Senator Boyce suggested that there was a special role for the CTU and CARICOM in facilitating the momentum in implementing ICT initiatives around the region.
This role would include canvassing countries to see what they were doing and to examine their plans; bringing to each country what others were doing in the region and the lessons learnt; bringing to the attention of countries the information on best practices; and arranging technical resources from around the region and elsewhere to help countries build the capacity to implement their plans.