Internet Broadband connectivity has become an essential and expected component of our society. Businesses, Governments and private citizens, all expect to be connected at some level. In fact, the present generation entering the workforce is the first generation who have not known what life it like without being connected. Therefore, there is a basic expectation that internet connectivity will be available and easy to consume.
It is also seen that nations who demonstrate leadership in building out internet bandwidth infrastructure, have more vibrant economies and enhanced education systems.
For the purposes of this article, we can identify 4 pillars which are found in successful societies. 1 – Education, 2 – Innovation, 3 – Economic development and 4 – Economic growth. The first 3 have become highly dependent upon high availability connected systems and services. The 4th is a net result of the first 3. Over the past 20 years, a key enabler in this context has become the speed and reliability of a nation’s internet broadband infrastructure. The capacity for internet speed is also known as internet bandwidth. Societies with fast, affordable, easy to access internet bandwidth, tend to show expedited development in each of the 4 pillars identified. Thus resulting in some nations effectively leapfrogging other nations in regards to economic growth. For example, throughout Africa we can see this panning out, where the African nations who invest in their technology infrastructure, tend to realise greater investment from external sources, which results in better jobs and consequently greater economic growth.
A good education system is key to any nation’s competitiveness on the global scale. However, in today’s world, we see that a good education system is not possible without students and teachers being empowered to learn and teach using technology. Barbados has been significant beneficiary of such an investment in technology infrastructure in its education system, with approx. 112 schools all connected to a central wide area network, linked to the internet. As continued commitment and investment in the broadband connectivity provided to the school system, Barbados will remain positioned to outperform other nations academically. As upgrades and enhancements to our school systems broadband infrastructure are maintained, at a level that exceeds that of other nations, Barbadians can be assured that the benefits will be far reaching for generations to come.
Good education leads to Innovation. For innovation to flourish, there needs to be an environment which nurtures, encourages and invests in the people and firms committed to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Once again, internet broadband provides great benefits as one of the key enablers for innovation. For example, in the online gaming development and the digital media industries; fast, affordable, reliable internet bandwidth can significantly benefit the growth of innovation in such an industry. There are obviously many other industries that if given access to fast, affordable and reliable broadband, can greatly benefit their quest to innovate and become leaders in their respective areas.
Good education leads to Innovation and innovation leads to Economic Development. A well educated workforce, who are empowered to innovate and are provided fast, affordable and reliable internet broadband, will greatly benefit the economic development of a nation. In order for a nation to develop it has to have key infrastructure components for its citizens, businesses and government. All 3 are interconnected and dependent upon the other. It has become the enabling framework by which policy, law, and trade are conducted. Therefore in the context of this discussion, fast, affordable and reliable intent broadband can greatly enable the inter-connectivity required for economic development. When citizens can access Government services and consume them online and businesses can do the same, the net result is efficient, quick delivery of Government services to its citizens and businesses. For example, if an individual citizen or business has an innovative idea and wishes to file a patent. Fast, affordable and reliable internet broadband will benefit a nation’s economic deployment with the ability to do so.
While the above are certainly not exclusive, but rather are inclusive for any nation seeking to compete globally. With a short and long term strategic approach to consistently maintaining and exceeding global standards for fast, affordable and reliable Broadband services, Barbados will certainly realise consistent benefits to all as it competes in the business, academic and social levels globally.