Imagine disaster early warning systems using the latest tools offered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Imagine tourists having ubiquitous access to 1 Gigabit secure wireless hotspots. Imagine students engaged real time in data analytics with environmental scientists across the world via advanced networks. These are just a few examples of the leapfrogging possibilities that three Caribbean islands are signing up for now. Can this imagination become a reality by 2020?
The three small island states of Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have just punched their tickets to the future. With technical and financial assistance from the World Bank and in partnership with Digicel, they have started the development of a future-proofed broadband infrastructure that will connect homes, schools, government offices, and businesses to each other and the rest of the world by 2020.
In July, the three countries signed contracts with Digicel for the construction of new Government Wide Area Networks (GWANs), educational networks for schools, libraries, and community centers; and a new submarine cable connecting Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. These contracts were made possible through the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) as coordinator.