The Eastern Caribbean island of Grenada is embarking on a drive to increase the amount of local content available to Grenadian Internet users.
Speaking at the launch of the relocated Grenada Internet exchange point, Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance and Energy stated that the Government of Grenada is in full support of initiatives to create Internet-based content that specifically targets the needs of Grenada and its citizens.
An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a facility that allows ISPs to keep domestic Internet traffic in country instead of routing it through the US or Europe.
According to Aldwyn Ferguson, head of the Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), “the Grenada Internet Exchange Point and the new local DNS Root server copy are important steps in our efforts to improve the quality, efficiency and resilience of Internet services in Grenada.”
Ferguson commended local service providers Cable & Wireless Grenada (trading as LIME) and Columbus Communications (FLOW) for working collaboratively to implement the new facilities. He also singled out Bernadette Lewis of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and Mr. Bevil Wooding of the US-based non-profit Packet Clearing House for providing the technical assistance and training support.
The Grenada NTRC played the role of facilitator in guiding the project from concept to implementation.
Minister Burke urged the Grenada NTRC Commissioners and staff to continue the process by working on local content initiatives. Describing the establishment of the local Internet exchange point as an important first step, Burke said.
“At this point we may not have a large market, or much content, or many users, but we are building for the future. The Grenada IXP provides a pathway to technology-based innovation, access, and choice for the national community.”
He said the Grenadian Government has been hearing the laments of innovators and mobile application developers who have been clamouring for higher bandwidth for their local applications services.
“As more citizens go online, as Governments move to e-government, schools to distance learning, traditional media go to e-publications and broadcasting and ICT-based industries are spawned, local content for domestic consumption will grow and the value of an Internet exchange point as critical Internet infrastructure will be better understood across the region.”
Minister Burke believes that the Grenada process can be replicated in other Caribbean territories. He said other Eastern Caribbean governments have already been in contact with the Grenada NTRC to get information on setting up Internet exchange points and strategies for encouraging development of local Internet content.