Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 8th 2015 Contents A31
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On the second day of the
Caribbean Tide conference, the dis-
cussions surged more determinedly
into the territory inferred by an
event that took its acronym from
technology and innovation for the
The three-day event, which ran
from August 25 to 27 at the Hilton
Trinidad explored many regional
issues related to technology, but
Wednesday morning brought regional
bankers and ministers together to
discuss ICT in regional governance
and infrastructure, which are mission
critical for any real growth in the
The World Bank s Doyle Gallegos
discussed early findings from a global
report exploring the "digital divi-
dends" of the technology revolution.
That report, Gallegos stressed, was
still in the information gathering
stage (http://ow.ly/RO1SE), and its
findings are still incomplete.
The findings on a global scale are
what you might expect to find.
Internet use decreases market and
Charting the digital Tide
costs, but the
of that funda-
have been, the
World Bank is
According to early data from the report, in the
digital age, global productivity has dropped, global
inequality has expanded and the share of elections
that are free and fair has also declined.
Taking a hit are the analog economies of inno-
vation, creating a situation in which ICT tends
to deliver between four and six per cent of GDP
and one to two per cent of jobs while gobbling
up 15-20 per cent of investment capital, and tend-
ing to create digital monopolies.
Mid-skilled jobs are shrinking in 20 of the 22
developing countries assessed for the report. If
workers in that sector of the job market can t
upgrade their skills, they drift down to low-skilled
The dream of universal accessibility is on track,
but only for voice and SMS messages, for which
coverage is available for 6.8 billion people.
Of an estimated global population of seven bil-
lion, six billion have no broadband, four billion
have no Internet and two billion have no access
to mobile phones.
Only 1.1 billion people in the world have access
to affordable high-speed Internet access.
This isn t a problem for developing nations only.
According to Dr Arunas Slekys who consults
with Global VSAT, a satellite based Internet
provider, 10-12 per cent of US citizens are under-
served, a total of 10-12 million people who the
provider works to reach using its technology.
In India, satellite technology serves 100,000
public Internet access points in rural communi-
Global VSAT uses geostationary satellites capable
of delivering 100GBps and newer models will be
capable of 200GBps.
Digital learning is taking off in remote villages
in India as a result, and as Dr Slekys noted, "store
owners are making more money renting time on
the Internet than they are selling goods in the
"Broadband deployment is a critical component
of the National ICT Plan for 2014-2018, SmarTT,"
said Vashti Maharaj of the Ministry of Science
According to the ministry s representative, 147
communities in Trinidad and underserved, as is
most of Tobago. Only the western tip of Tobago
has access to wired broadband and the remainder
of the island depends on a mobile signal.
The Technology Ministry has also been devel-
oping a proposal to improve T&T undersea cable
connectivity, making use of the landing at Mission
Bay in Toco which links Tobago to add a sixth
cable landing on the northeast coast dubbed TT-
1. The existing five landings were all at Macqueripe
Bay in Chaguaramas.
Clearly improving Internet access is critically
important since the technology only drives devel-
opment when it s fast, affordable and always on.
Change will only be driven when universal,
affordable Internet access is provided in a growth
focused nation, something that Gallegos noted
must sometimes be driven by public-private part-
nerships when the commercial market place fails
to provide the service.
"Digital strategy needs to be broader than ICT
strategy," Doyle Gallegos said.
"We can no longer think of digital advancements
as aligned with ICT, they must be part of all [gov-
Doyle Gallegos of the World Bank Group speaking at
the Caribbean Tide conference.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
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