The vision of a Single ICT Space, articulated by CARICOM Heads of Government, is concrete recognition of the role that technology must play in the economic and social development of the Caribbean.
This was emphasised by Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, yesterday as he spoke at the Caribbean Broadband Forum in Port-of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
In his keynote address, Senator Boyce stated: “Regional cooperation and collaboration are absolutely necessary for the realisation of the desired ICT vision. Realisation of that vision should no longer be postponed. We must move resolutely to ensure that it comes to fruition in the shortest feasible time.”
He maintained that the Single ICT Space must create the environment for investment, entrepreneurship, development and innovation.
“Traditionally, electricity, gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications infrastructure have always been important considerations for site selection for investment flows. Advances in technology and the convergence of services have elevated the importance of the Internet in economic development and site selection,” Senator Boyce noted.
He stressed that the availability, quality and competitiveness of broadband service were now important requirements to capture investment flows and to encourage innovation.
“Broadband has flattened the world by allowing businesses to communicate and collaborate in ways never before possible because of the increase in the amount of information that can be transferred at faster speeds, in real time and new software technology, all made possible by phenomenal increases in bandwidth.”
Senator Boyce said that in order to support the adoption of broadband services, Caribbean Governments must lead and become earlier adopters of technology.
“Our Governments must use broadband connectivity to make the provision of public services more accessible; and to improve the welfare of our citizens through access to healthcare and educational services.”
Noting that one of the ultimate aims of increasing and improving broadband in the region was job creation, he said: “Therefore, we must not falter. We must be resolute in our actions and committed to creating the future that is possible, enabled by robust and ubiquitous Caribbean broadband infrastructure.”