Barbados to host CARIBNOG 17 in April 2019

The next regional gathering of the Caribbean Network Operators Group, called CaribNOG 17, will take place in Bridgetown, Barbados from April 10 to 12, 2019.

CaribNOG is a volunteer-based community, largely drawn from the professionals who design, build, maintain and safeguard the region’s computer networks. Like many other network operator groups around the world, CaribNOG is dedicated to advancing members’ technical capacity and developing stronger networks in the region. 

“There can be no vision for overall Caribbean development without the development of the Caribbean Internet. It is the responsibility of technology professionals in the region to help shape its development and to help defend it against attack,” said Stephen Lee, Program Director of CaribNOG. 

"At CaribNOG 17, we will be discussing a range of cybersecurity and network resiliency issues that are central to the development of a more open, resilient and secure Internet.”

CaribNOG 17 immediately follows the next public policy meeting of the American Registry of Internet Numbers, called ARIN 43, which takes place at the same venue from April 7 to 10, 2019. 

A longtime supporter of CaribNOG, ARIN is providing a Fellowship program to support persons interested in participating in the ARIN 43 and CaribNOG 17 meetings. The ARIN Fellowship Program offers several individuals an opportunity to attend these meetings at no charge, and also offers hotel accommodations at the meeting venue, round-trip economy class airfare, and a stipend. 

“The ARIN 43 and CaribNOG 17 meetings provide interested persons in the Caribbean with an opportunity to shape Internet policy and to gain practical technical knowledge and skills. This is particularly important, given our region’s increased reliance on information and communications technologies in almost every sector,” said Bevil Wooding, CaribNOG co-founder and Caribbean Outreach Liaison at ARIN.

Event and registration details will be made available on the official websites caribnog.org and arin.net.

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The threat of climate-driven natural disaster and the struggle to keep pace with the global digital economy are among the key factors driving the need for Caribbean Internet stakeholders to strengthen the resilience of the region's communications networks.

The term 'resilience' refers to a network's ability to maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of a range of threats, such as technical misconfiguration, natural disasters or targeted attacks. In the Caribbean, where several nations are susceptible to extreme weather events or natural disasters, the importance of network resilience has come into sharp focus.

“In today’s world, the security, resilience and robustness of computer networks are critical to the development of the digital economy,” said Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), a US-based not-for-profit organisation responsible for Internet number resource management.

Wooding, who is also the Strategic Information and Communications Technology Advisor for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, emphasised the importance of the issue as he addressed regional officials at the 36th Executive Council meeting of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), held in St Vincent and the Grenadines in March.

"The Caribbean can no longer afford to leave important decisions about network buildout, network resource management and network infrastructure spend only to commercial telecommunications providers. Those issues are now the concern and the responsibility of governments, private network operators and even end users," he said.

Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, pointed out that the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season heightened the need to boost the resilience of regional communications infrastructure.

“As a region, we must have a clear, strategic approach to building out Internet infrastructure to drive business innovation and economic development,” Jules said.

He warned that the global economy will become increasingly unforgiving to regions with failing, outdated or unsecured technology.

“If we do not act with urgency to address this, the impact on our economic and social development can be more devastating than last season’s hurricanes.”

Wooding added that a number of collaborative initiatives are already underway in the region. The CTU recently empanelled a special commission to identify actionable recommendations for improving Caribbean network resilience. And a meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group, to be held in Miami in April, will focus on building technical capacity in computer network design, management and security.