News Releases

2008 Caribbean Internet Forum

For Release Upon Receipt - November 28, 2008

St. Augustine

The Sixth Annual Caribbean Internet Forum (CIF) from Wednesday 29th to Friday 31st October, 2008 at the Crowne Plaza, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. This was hosted by The University of the West Indies (UWI), Faculty of Engineering Masters in Regulation and Policy -MRP (Telecommunications) Programme, in collaboration with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority The main objective of this Forum was to discuss the potential for mobile Internet technology to promote economic and social development in the Caribbean and to contemplate what is required to create an enabling environment. The Forum was attended by Participants from policy and regulatory agencies, telecommunications operators and ISPs, the private and public sector, educators and civil society organizations, as well as interested individuals.

The Minister of Public Administration, the Honourable Kennedy Swaratsingh gave a welcoming addresss, informing participants of his Ministry’s efforts to promote the use of ICTs and his belief that Port of Spain would be a ‘digital city’ by 2009. Professor William Melody, the Founding Director of Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economics and the World Dialogue on Regulation spoke of the dramatic increase of mobility as an integral part of broadband networks, and noted, “We are now on the threshold of a new wave of expansion of the Internet to establish ‘Next Generation Networks’.

Some new uses of mobile technology in the region were highlighted during the Forum. One of these is the Alert Retrieval Cache (ARC), which was developed by a Trinidadian, Taran Rampersad, in collaboration with international colleagues. The ARC is a central collecting system for SMS messages that can be redirected as required. For instance, in the event of a national disaster, SMS messages identifying areas of need can be rapidly re-directed to international sources of help. Additionally, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of The University of the West Indies is working with the Claxton Bay community to compile a skills bank that can be accessed over a mobile phone. This enables anyone in urgent need to access the database and source help via their cell phone. This department also reported on an SMS-based Student Messaging Service specifically developed to provide access to key scheduling information to students without Internet access.

The use of low-cost wireless technologies, and the application of these technologies within underserved communities in the Caribbean, was also identified as a means of improving Internet access. Participants were updated on the implementation of Caribbean community wireless networks and community technology centres in St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. These centres promote the broader use of ICTs and facilitate greater networking among community organizations and businesses, as well as promote enhanced personal and professional development.

The lifting of limitations in the enabling environment for the Mobile Internet in the Caribbean was also an area of concern, which required the exploration of various technical, policy, regulatory, governance and administration issues. Representatives of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry provided comprehensive coverage of IPv6 and related matters in a one-day Internet workshop.

The Forum also saw the finals of the Teleios SMS ‘Code Jam’. This innovative competition, which was supported by both Teleios Ltd. and Microsoft, had begun before the meeting, and culminated in selected teams designing creative applications that use mobile messaging.

Overall, the event created an opportunity for research, industry and government stakeholders to discuss ways in which the quality of life in the Caribbean can be improved through mobile technology. And, the CIF 2008 would like to extend thanks its corporate sponsors: Ericsson, USA, First Citizen’s Bank Ltd., Trinidad and Tobago, International Development Research Centre, Canada Internet Society (ISOC), Latin America and the Caribbean, Microsoft, West Indies and Multi Country Americas, Nortel, USA, BLINK Broadband, Trinidad and Tobago Teleios Systems, Ltd, Trinidad and Tobago and bMobile, Trinidad and Tobago.

For further information, please contact Mrs. Candice Simonta-Dyer at 662 2002, Ext. 2637, or email /, or visit the CIF 2008 official website: .