Broadband Access Broad In The Federation
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 02, 2011 (CUOPM)
An international report says St. Kitts and Nevis boasts the highest fixed broadband subscription rates in the Latin American/Caribbean region and even higher than some developed economies.
That’s according to infoDev, a global partnership program within the World Bank Group which works at the intersection of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship to create opportunities for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction.
This report seeks to understand the challenges and successes of St. Kitts and Nevis’ broadband experience.
The Report on the infoDev website states that access to affordable broadband has become a priority for many countries, which is perceived as important for social and economic development. The interaction of individuals, communities, and organizations with broadband has contributed to the development and enhancement of social networks, access to and generation of new knowledge, and the creation of diverse innovative processes.
“The study analyses the environment within the small island developing state that facilitated the uptake of broadband technologies and applications, to the extent that St. Kitts and Nevis has the highest fixed broadband subscription rate among all countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region, and even higher than some developed economies,” said the Report.
It said this achievement can be attributed in part to the small physical size of St. Kitts and Nevis that has enabled faster rollout of the physical infrastructure, facilitated more effective marketing, and promoted maximum impact for government-led ICT initiatives.
According to the report, among the Caribbean islands however smallness is certainly not unique.
“The study therefore explores other factors that have contributed to high broadband penetration. The phrase “strength in depth” is borrowed from the world of soccer, the most popular sport on the island. The phrase is used to underscore the point that the strength of the island’s achievement in the broadband sector, lies in its commitment to nurturing the foundational components of the broadband ecosystem,” it said.
The report said promotion of basic education and digital literacy, building technology awareness, facilitating access to ICT, and encouragement of a competitive telecommunications environment are but a few examples of the country’s core strengths.
However, as in any ecosystem, sustainability and growth can be threatened by internal weaknesses. As of the date of this report, mobile broadband has yet to be launched and the lack of appropriate legislation is holding back the development of interactive e-commerce and e-government applications. Other challenges included the high cost of services, an unstable power supply and quality of service issues.
This case study is one of an initial series of seven that will contribute to the Broadband Strategies Toolkit, an online resource for policy-makers and regulators, especially in developing countries.
The case studies are generously funded by the Korean Trust Fund (KTF) on Information and Communications for Development (IC4D). The KTF is a partnership between the government of the Republic of Korea and the World Bank Group whose purpose is to advance the ICT4D agenda to contribute to growth and reduce poverty in developing countries.
InfoDev assists governments and technology-focused small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow jobs, improve capacity and skills, increase access to finance and markets, ensure the appropriate enabling policy and regulatory environment for business to flourish, and test out innovative solutions in developing country markets.
“We do this in partnership with other development programs, with World Bank/IFC colleagues, and with stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors in the developing world,” said the Website.