BVI News

Internet too expensive, poor for gov’t project

Minister responsible for telecommunication Mark Vanterpool, Junior Minister of Trade Marlon Penn (centre) and other persons at the conference in the Dominican Republic

Junior Minister of Trade Marlon Penn said the British Virgin Islands intends to push the concept of ‘smart communities’, but there are a number of challenges, including the relatively high cost of internet that does not function as fast as is necessary.

The ‘smart communities’ that Penn is touting usually form successful alliances to work together to use information technology.

Penn stated that, although advances are being made, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is still behind.

He added that Government and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) have a role to play in ensuring the situation improves.

“As a territory as a whole, I think we are still some ways away [from achieving smart communities]. One of the challenges that we have is that we are paying a premium for ICT (Information Communication Technology) and broadband communications, but we are not getting the best service that we can get based on the money that we are paying. Most times we don’t get what we pay for.”

“I think the TRC needs to hold the providers accountable for the services they are offering to the consumers. Government has to strengthen legislation [and] strengthen regulations to ensure that the consumer gets quality service,” added Penn.

He, in the meantime, said he is pressing ahead with plans to have two areas transformed into ‘smart communities’.

“One of the things that we are discussing is the issue we’re having with [developing] smart communities. I’ve had that discussion recently to have the library services in East End to be a WiFiFree Zone as well as the community centre. Hopefully, that can be launched soon,” Penn further said.

He made the comments during a ministerial round-table discussion held at the 33rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition being held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Penn, who is part of a BVI delegation at the conference, said he is hopeful that the event and further discussions about smart communities in the region will ignite a solution for the BVI.

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