Industry experts agree: Regulators must protect Caribbean mobile subscribers.

voipMobile telecommunications operators in the region will continue to take advantage of consumers until stronger regulatory frameworks are built to protect Caribbean citizens. Regulators across the region must take decisive action to protect consumer choice, and the neutrality of the Internet across the Caribbean.

This is the consensus emerging among several Latin America and Caribbean Internet and telecommunications industry experts who spoke to the T&T Guardian after a move by regional mobile operators Digicel and LIME to block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services over their networks in Haiti, Jamaica and T&T.

Time To Revisit Caribbean Telecom Regulations

tabletsincaribbeanschoolsOutmoded Policy Hindering Development, Hurting Consumers

The move by two major Caribbean mobile providers to block access to popular Internet-based telephony services continues to capture regional attention. Their action has provoked the ire of consumers, caught the attention of Internet advocates and forced the engagement of national regulators. But perhaps most significantly, it has put a spotlight on the outmoded regulations that govern the actions of telecommunications providers in the Caribbean.

The Agri eBay! showcased in Kenya’s FIN4Ag International Conference

jermaine-henryICT4AG - Shopping on eBay for a range of consumer goods is one of the most popular online retail endeavours today. It is convenient, affords the consumer leverage on cost through competitive bidding and eliminates meddlesome middlemen. But can you imagine such convenience and efficiency in the agriculture sector?

Well, it’s more than just a thought as Project Agro, a Jamaican-based agri-tech start-up that arose from one of the events of ConnectiMass- A Caribbean Innovation Hub, is demonstrating the efficacy of an “agri eBay” clearinghouse called Agro Central. This eight month old innovation is Jamaica’s first digital agricultural clearinghouse that allows users to sell or buy agricultural produce.

The Agro Central functions as a sort of “agri eBay” system. It differs in that it is intended for businesses to buy directly from agricultural producers/farmers, and is not meant to be a mass market consumer focused platform like eBay.

More Story and Video here.

Defending An Open Caribbean Internet

caribbeanvoipWhy Blocking VoIP Services is Bad for Consumers and Bad for the Region

“…we are empowering individuals and businesses to get the best out of the internet when and how they want.” – Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica
In general, it is always troubling when private firms place their profit-driven interests above larger societal good. When such interests, impact open access to the Internet, and all of its services, the ramifications can undermine economies and disempower whole sectors of society.

A case of mixed signals? Blocking VoIP in the Caribbean

caribbeanvoipOPINION - Since Sunday, 29 June, consumers across the Caribbean have been in an uproar over telecoms, especially mobile/cellular providers, blocking applications and services on their networks that use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Generally, the term VoIP speaks to technologies that are used to deliver voice communications and multimedia transmissions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, which is used by the Internet, and includes offerings such as Skype, Google Talk, MagicJack and Viber.

From Data to Dollars-How Open Data Initiatives Can Support Business Innovation and Transparency in the Caribbean

currency exchange copyData is more accessible today than anyone could have imagined only a few decades ago. From corporate databases to Internet connected repositories is the lifeblood of the digital economy. With growth projected at 40 per cent a year into the next decade, it is unleashing a new wave of innovative services and opportunities.

Open Data World
As more of the world goes online, there are increasing opportunities for businesses, governments and people to use data in new ways. For example, data allows us to to learn about customers, optimize business processes, better customize products and services. Add the Internet to the mix and you have a world of data possibilities that can be built upon the foundation of cloud computing, mobility, social networks. But for those possibilities to be realized, the data has to be accessible. The more accessible it is, the more opportunities there are for everyone. That’s where open data comes in.

Bright path to digital careers at TechLink Barbados

BrightPath facilitator Juma Bannister, left, leads eager young participants in a hands-on Digital Photography session at BrightPath's TechLink Barbados workshop, Cave Hill School of Business, June 21. Photo courtesy The BrightPath Foundation.

BrightPath facilitator Juma Bannister, left, leads eager young participants in a hands-on Digital Photography session at BrightPath’s TechLink Barbados workshop, Cave Hill School of Business, June 21. Photo courtesy The BrightPath Foundation.

More than thirty young Barbadians learned basic skills for developing successful mobile apps and producing high-quality digital photography at a special workshop facilitated by the BrightPath Foundation, in collaboration with Columbus Communications.

A mix of small business owners and entrepreneurs assembled at the Cave Hill School of Business for BrightPath’s TechLink, a regional technology education program offering training in digital content creation and business development.

Bevil Wooding, executive director of BrightPath Foundation, described TechLink as “practical training in technology related skills to communities across the region.”

ITU to promote the global adoption of mobile money

mobile-money-appPRESS RELEASE- International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a new Focus Group on Digital Financial Services to promote financial inclusion using information and communication technologies (ICT) in response to a proposal from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a member of ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Over 2.5 billion adults do not have access to a formal bank account, most of them in developing economies. Internationally standardized ‘mobile money’ platforms will increase financial inclusion to the benefit of socio-economic development worldwide. Digital financial services are capable of improving the delivery of basic financial services. Standards will drastically reduce the costs of these services to service providers and their customers, thereby opening the door to remote and underserved communities.

Grenada to Distribute Tablets in Schools this September

tabletsincaribbeanschoolsTECH NEWS - Grenada will be launching a programme to distribute tablet computers in the country’s schools in September, the government announced this week. The plan will be conducted with help from telecommunications firm LIME, which offered to do so during a meeting that included Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell on Tuesday.

In a statement, the government said the purpose of the tablet programme, which has been conducted in several countries in the region, is to expand the role of science and technology improving the local economy. more

USAID, REDDOM install climate info platform for Dom Rep’s Agro Sector

climate_change_encyclopaediaICT+CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS - The U.S.Agency for International Development (USAID) and the REDDOM Foundation recently launched a climate-friendly  platform to develop, implement  and generate information and  knowledge for the country’s agro sector, to help it make smart choices to deal with the risks of climate change.

Jamaica Set to Launch Internet Exchange Point in August

JamaicaIXPTECH NEWS- Jamaica is expected to benefit significantly from an Internet exchange point facility, which the ministry of science, technology, energy and mining expects to have in place by August. The IXP enables Internet traffic-routing within the country where the provision exists, instead of through external providers, as currently is the case with Jamaica.