New research is showing that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributes positively to increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on a country’s investment in this sector.
Further, the ICT sector is anticipated to continue to grow globally, based on current investment trends. Some of the key elements of an ICT sector are access to modern communications by private citizens, the business community and government, the existence of a competitive environment shaped by up to date regulations and legislation and enabling considerations such as high standards of education, reliable power and other utilities.
Barbados, the most easterly of the Caribbean islands, has a relatively strong telecommunications infrastructure. It has always had one of the highest teledensities in the region. An estimated 98 per cent of the population has access to a working telephone, no doubt influenced by the flat, undulating landscape where telephone networks are easier to design and construct than elsewhere in the region where the mountainous geography presents cost problems.
It is home to two sub-sea cable systems, competition in Internet service, two cellular operators and two full-service telecommunication licence holders. Competition has led to reductions in prices although some key policies need to be implemented to spur competition further and some key relevant pieces of legislation are in need of modernising.
The sound telecommunications infrastructure and reliable electricity service are among reasons why the island has attracted investors from a wide range of industries and is positioned to attract further investment from sunrise industries that are driven by a convergence in communications. International companies have a choice of high-end service from TeleBarbados Inc and Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Limited which has been re-branded as LIME to reflect a focus on Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment.
Just about any service which thrives on dependable broadband communications can be found or established in Barbados. Several regional corporations and international business companies have opted to locate their headquarters in Barbados, influenced in part by the island’s relatively advanced ICT systems.
Residence have a choice of ADSL or wireless Internet for residential service and options for far higher bandwidth than a household would require. Investment in training for ICT-related jobs is available at many levels, at secondary school, at the government-funded community level through free training at community centres and for all ages and genders.
Government has under consideration requests from service providers to introduce IP TV (Internet television).
Internet-related services and technologies are being rapidly expanded throughout all sectors of the economy, including Government.