Caribbean must strengthen its Internet infrastructure

Saturday, March 31, 2018 — Internet expert calls for greater regional network resilience and security. ST VINCENT: The Caribbean will have to strengthen its critical Internet infrastructure if it is to defend against the growing threat of climate-change-driven natural disasters and if it is to keep up with the world’s growing digital economy.

This view was expressed by Internet-expert, Bevil Wooding, the Caribbean outreach director at the American Registry for Internet Numbers, ARIN, a US-based non-profit organisation responsible for Internet number resource management.

“In today’s world, the security, resilience and robustness of computers networks are critical to the development of the digital economy. The Caribbean can no longer afford to leave important decisions about network buildout, network resource management and network infrastructure spend only to commercial telecommunications providers. Those issues are now the concern and the responsibility of governments, private network operators and even end users,” he said.

Wooding, who is also the Strategic ICT Advisor for the OECS Commission, was speaking in St Vincent and the Grenadines to officials at the 36th Executive Council meeting of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the body responsible for information and communications technology policy in the region.

Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, shared that the devastating impact of the 2017 hurricane season on several Caribbean territories has put a spotlight on the importance of strengthening the resilience of the region’s communications network and infrastructure.

“As a region, we must have a clear, strategic approach to building out Internet infrastructure to drive business innovation and economic development,” Dr. Jules said.

He warned that that, the global economy will become increasingly unforgiving to regions with failing, outdated or unsecured technology infrastructure.

“If we do not act with urgency to address this, the impact on our economic and social development can be more devastating than last season’s hurricanes.”

According to Wooding, The CTU has a has also established a special commission to identify

“actionable recommendations for improving Caribbean network resilience.” He also highlighted current efforts by regional and international non-profit organizations to address the issue, noting that the CTU, ARIN, the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), Packet Clearing House and others are already collaborating on initiatives “to develop greater awareness and technical capacity in computer network design, management and cybersecurity.”

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