The number of internet connections in the Dominican Republic soared by over 22 percent year on year to reach 6.1 million at the end of January, having grown 26 percent in 2016 as a whole, according to data published by telecommunications regulator Indotel.
However, Indotel’s chairman Jose del Castillo Savinon emphasizes that aim is to boost internet penetration from the current figure of less than 50 percent of the population to at least 70 percent over the next three years. The country’s Republica Digital programme calls for substantially increased fibre-optic coverage to meet the goal, starting with the introduction of broadband services in ten more provinces via a backbone network to be rolled out by state utilities giant ETED. The fibre-optic backbone “will connect nearly all of the country’s 32 provinces via 55 nodes nationwide,” said the Indotel head.
The watchdog added that total of 8.70 million mobile telephone lines were in operation in the Dominican Republic at the end of January, three-quarters of which were pre-paid. There were also 1.11 million fixed lines, 228,502 IP lines.
Caribbean Leaders Urged To Embrace ICT
In keeping with the theme of ICT Week and Symposium Antigua and Barbuda; ICT – Driving 21st Century Intelligent Services, Melford Nicholas, minister of information, broadcasting, telecommunications and information technology stated, “ICT has disrupted the financial order. Technology has a way of working around the established order. The Caribbean should not fear the disruptive nature of ICT – but embrace it.”
Melford was speaking at the 15th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic Seminar in Antigua and Barbuda. He made a strong call to the region to embrace the emerging technologies as the Caribbean is facing the reality of how cash will become a thing of the past.
He added, “We should open our minds to the possibility of the financial sector. We should find ourselves a new sitting place in the world order, and if we respond well, we would find ourselves in a position to exploit opportunities.”
These seminars are designed to raise awareness of the emerging technologies, their implications for policy, legislation and regulations and their potential to foster national and regional development. It further explored new modes of providing secure financial services for all citizens, the use of cryptocurrencies, innovative ways of financing the region’s ICT-enabled development, and advancing the Caribbean’s participation in the information age.
Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of the CTU, made a strong call to policy makers to examine the potential impact of ICT on development.
“ICT are cross-cutting, enabling tools. It is imperative therefore that policymakers from all sectors collectively examine the impact of ICT on the development of their respective sectors,” she said.
The seminar addressed various issues critical to the region such as ICT-enabled financial solutions; financing options for ICT projects; security matters and 21st century financial services for all, presented by line-up of industry expert speakers.
Caribbean ministers of government from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia, as well as senior officials from diverse sectors including ICT, finance, national security, health and education attended the seminar, as ICT is a cross-cutting area that transcends various sectors.
Book Fusion Almost Scuppered By Caribbean Stereotypes
Book Fusion is an internationally acclaimed online book publishing platform founded by Jamaican Dwayne Campbell. But as we hear the success was almost shot down by traditional parental aspirations, we hear more from founder Dwayne Campbell as to how he got his project going.
So when I was in University at the time, you know everybody coming from the Caribbean usually your parents want you to be a doctor or a lawyer or you know then engineer. So when I was back in Jamaica I did my high school website at the time in the HT ML and CSS so I had assumed I could teach myself computers you know and programming. So I went there with the goal of doing becoming a doctor so I started with biology but then eventually I'm you know it was repeating the same content from six form so I switched to Chemical Engineering.
And then I was volunteering in a computer science lab which was a student-run lab where they provided servers and resources for students to learn and develop and I found myself spending a lot of time in this environment until I ended up working there as a Systems Administrator so by the time I was ready to switch my major to computer science, that would have extended the time needed to graduate so I decided to do a minor or in it instead.
We will hear more from Book Fusion in subsequent episodes.