The concept that Caribbean minds are best placed to solve Caribbean problems is hardly novel. But the idea is drawing new life from an unlikely source.
The Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) is an independent, volunteer-based community of network operators, telecommunications regulators, Internet service providers, special interest groups, government representatives and academics who come together regularly to share knowledge and develop new skills.
“CaribNOG is founded on the premise that the region is best suited to tackle the challenges and devise the solutions that it needs for its own development. Caribbean people are best placed to identify and resolve the issues affecting the development of Caribbean networks,” said Bevil Wooding, an Internet Strategist with Packet House and one of the founders of CaribNOG.
“And that is not to say that we simply do it all on our own. Of course, partnership and collaboration are also important.”
Wooding was speaking at the organisation’s tenth regional conference, called CaribNOG 10, which was held in Belize from November 2 to 6.
The weeklong conference was jointly organised with the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Address Registry (LACNIC), the entity responsible for managing Internet numbering resources in South and Central America and the Caribbean.
It was no coincidence that LACNIC decided to join forces with CaribNOG and co-brand the meeting as the second LACNIC Caribbean On The Move event.
“LACNIC and CaribNOG are both working to develop the technical capacity of the region, so that we can solve Caribbean issues and address Caribbean challenges. Our meetings are the perfect forum to draw attention to the technology issues affecting Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Kevon Swift, Head of Strategic Relations and Integration at LACNIC.
Among the LACNIC representatives taking part in the event were Security and Stability Manager, Guillermo Cicileo, and Policy Officer, Gianina Pensky. Their presentations were well received by both local and online audiences.
It was not LACNIC’s first collaboration with its Caribbean counterparts. LACNIC Caribbean 6 was held together with CaribNOG 8 in Willemstad, Curacao in September, 2014. And as Swift explained, for LACNIC the partnership with CaribNOG has strategic significance beyond the meetings themselves.
“LACNIC’s goal is to make the Internet a more effective instrument for social inclusion and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. And to do this, we recognise the importance of partnering with influential actors in the English-speaking Caribbean.”
More than 70 technology professionals from the Caribbean, Central and North America converged in Belize City for the jointly organised weeklong event, where much rich and lively discussions focused on regional cybersecurity and Internet development.
“This is my second CaribNOG in Belize, and I am always very heartened to see the excitement and enthusiasm of the technical community here,” said Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Global Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean Region at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Alongside ICANN, the meeting also brought together several major industry players in support of regional network development, including Microsoft, Google, the Internet Society the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Akamai Technologies.
“I’ve been a participant in CaribNOG since the very beginning. This is my fifth or sixth CaribNOG event that I’ve attended, and each event gets bigger and larger and more noticed and more interesting,” said Martin Hannigan, Director of Networks and Data Center Architecture at Akamai Technologies, a leading provider of content delivery network services.
For its next event, CaribNOG will partner with the American Registry for Internet Numbers to conduct a weeklong event in Montego Bay, Jamaica from April 18-22, 2016.