Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 3rd 2013 Contents BG16 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt OCTOBER 2013 • WEEK ONE
Failing to convert brilliant business ideas to real returns
is costing online entrepreneurs big time. That s why in the
Caribbean, stakeholders are starting to pay closer attention
to external factors impacting their bottom line.
One such factor is the underdevelopment of critical Internet
infrastructure in the region. Across the Caribbean, local Inter-
net service providers (ISPs) are paying overseas carriers to
exchange local Internet traffic between their local networks.
This is an unnecessarily costly and inefficient way of handling
in-country exchange of Internet traffic. And, naturally, that
expense and inconvenience are borne by the end user.
But there is a better way, according to Kurleigh Prescod,
Vice President of Network and ICT Services for the southern
Caribbean at Columbus Communications, a major player in
the regional telecommunications landscape.
Speaking at the Ninth Caribbean Internet Governance
Forum (CIGF) held at the Curacao World Trade Centre last
month, Prescod said the region was heavily dependent on
foreign infrastructure for Internet access, especially US infra-
structure. But he shared valuable insights on how Columbus
was responding to the regional challenge.
Citing the example of Grenada, Prescod identified the
island s Internet Exchange Point (IXP) as a key component
of the critical infrastructure that allowed Columbus to work
with other ISPs to exchange local Internet traffic between
their networks without cost. Through the IXP, Internet traffic
originating in Grenada now terminates on other local networks
without having to go through lengthy, expensive, international
routes, he said.
In Curacao, Columbus joined that island s IXP (AMS-IX
Caribbean), and is now working to support the Exchange s
"There are two sides to caching," Prescod explained. "One
is the caching box, which provides the content to the users.
But you also have to get that content. So we are actually
engaged in Curacao to provide that foreign content for those
providers, cache it, and then serve it to the users.
"So not only are we a member of the AMS-IX, but we
also serve the global Internet to all of the caching boxes in
Curacao today. In the interest of supporting the development
of the broadband economy here in Curacao, we thought it
was important we do so."
Prescod is also one of the vice presidents of a third Caribbean
Internet Exchange recently incorporated as a non-profit
company in T&T. And he is hopeful that the southernmost
Caribbean island will be next in line to successfully establish
a fully functional Exchange.
"At this time, we ve only gotten consensus around seven
Internet Service Providers that there should be an Exchange,"
he said. "We ve sort of decided on a technical model and
we re looking over the two to six months to implement that
Prescod was speaking as part of a multinational, multi-
stakeholder panel discussion in the morning session of the
CIGF. Alongside him were Nico Scheper (Netherlands), Craig
Nesty (Dominica) and Bevil Wooding (T&T). Their discussion
emphasised the essential link between the performance of
critical Internet infrastructure and the stimulation of the
Internet economy in the region.
"Establishing a local IXP can bring many benefits to
Caribbean citizens, including faster domestic Internet traffic
exchange, and a more resilient local network," said Wooding
in a post-event interview.
He added, "IXPs are a critical component of the local
Internet economy, but they re not the only component."
As a whole, the Caribbean region is served by only six
IXPs. Apart from Curacao, they are in the British Virgin
Islands, Haiti, Grenada, St Maarten and Dominica.
Stakeholders from the Caribbean and Latin America gath-
ered in Curacao to engage discuss and develop policies and
structures for regional Internet governance. The CIGF, which
was organised by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union
at the request of the Caricom Secretariat, emphasises a
multi-stakeholder approach to the development of regional
Internet governance policy, drawing on the expertise and
experiences of policy makers, regulators, service providers,
content providers, consumer groups, academia, professionals,
end users and other Internet interest groups in the region.
The McDonough School of Business of
Georgetown University in Washington,
DC, has announced its intention to
deliver customised executive education
programmes in the Caribbean.
Here s what Paul Almeida (PA), the school s senior
associate dean for executive education, told GERARD
BEST, new media editor at Guardian Media Ltd, about
the motivation and expectations driving the initiative.
Can you describe some of the global trends, both in the edu-
cation sector and in corporations, that prompted Georgetown
University to focus on customised executive education?
PA: Due to globalisation, advances in technology, and expand-
ing competitiveness in different industries across the world,
corporations are growing more complex. As a result, they
must keep evolving. The set of skills needed to succeed will
change continuously across time, and sometimes, in unpre-
Most of us finish our schooling in our 20s, but the knowledge,
frameworks and exposure we need continues to grow and
evolve for 20, 30, and even 40 years after that, creating a gap
in education. Executive education can fill that gap.
We are able---in a targeted way---to deliver solutions, skills,
tools, and mindsets to allow these complex corporations to
be successful in this evolving world.
Globally, what kinds of companies are attracted to the prospect
of executive education? Relatedly, what traits make for an ideal
client or ideal student?
PA: In addition to delivering knowledge, expertise, and
extended networking opportunities, Georgetown McDonough
Executive Education provides the chance to be reflective; to
take yourself out of your everyday work and refresh the way
you look at things within your professional realm.
For that reason, an ideal student is one who comes into a
programme willing to learn and explore. For even the most
accomplished CEO, there is always something to learn or try.
We want open-minded students who will come in and say,
"I can make this work for me and my company. I can make
There is not just one type of company best suited for exec-
utive education. All companies can find value in executive
education programming for its many facets: from leadership
training to practical applications in a changing world. For
example, lawyers now need to learn finance and accounting.
Doctors need to be managers, not just good doctors. Domestic
companies are facing global competition and reduced gov-
ernment budgets which affect their marketing and supply.
International companies face more complex and challenging
environments than ever before. We can fill these gaps and
provide solutions to these challenges. Every type of organisation
needs continuous education to build and succeed.
Are there any particular trends that are causing Georgetown
to expand its reach into emerging and frontier markets at this
PA: We all talk about "globalisation" but what does it really
mean? One key aspect is that there is increasing homogeneity
across the world. For instance, there are often commonalities
across your supply chain or your business structure. Yet, there
also is persistent heterogeneity across countries and often
increasing local differentiation when it comes to distribution
systems, taxes, and legal restrictions.
The challenge is to figure out how to work in a globalising
world with this dichotomy of homogeneity and heterogeneity.
At Georgetown s McDonough School of Business, we know
how to tackle these issues. International business is our expert-
ise. We understand that companies from emerging economies
are dealing with both global competition in their backyards
as well as the challenges and opportunities to globalise them-
Georgetown McDonough is uniquely positioned to help
organisations in emerging and frontier markets succeed both
internationally and domestically.
What does GU bring to the Caribbean that distinguishes it
from other global business schools, such as HBS, IMD, Wharton,
Sloan, INSEAD, etc?
PA: At Georgetown s McDonough School of Business, we
like to understand the challenges faced by particular economies
and companies and tailor our programs to make sense to them
and their individual needs. We believe in a truly customised
approach. Few large schools have the ability or practice this
to the extent that we do. If you have a challenge, we want
to fully understand it and make solutions work for you. Along
with our global and applied focus, we bring a genuine will-
ingness to make adjustments to programs to best meet the
strategic goals of our clients.
Is there anything else about the initiative that you would like
our readers to know?
PA: Our goal is to bring Georgetown University to Trinidad,
and Trinidad to Georgetown and Washington, DC. The potential
for economic growth in the Caribbean is high and we feel
Georgetown s Executive Education is uniquely positioned to
provide the knowledge, tools, and frameworks required to
maximise that potential.
About Georgetown McDonough's Executive Education programmes
Since 1994, Georgetown's McDonough School of Business has worked with dozens of global organisations to deliver these
specialised programmes. Since 2012, modules of their executive programmes have been offered in the United Arab Emirates,
Beijing, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bangalore, Madrid, Buenos Aires, San Paulo, Tel Aviv and Barcelona.
Among their clientele are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Rio Tinto Mining, NII Holdings, Medifast, Booz
Allen Hamilton, USAID, Panasonic, FedEx, Gucci, Areva, Alcatel-Lucent, Rolls Royce, and the Inter-American Development
Bank. The programmes, which range in length from five days to ten months, are customised to focus on individual compa-
nies or specific sectors. The company-focused approach delivers training specifically tailored for senior leaders from the
same organisation, while sector-focused programmes are delivered to executives and senior leaders from different compa-
nies in the same industry or sector.
Regional ISPs taking
extra look at bottom line
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