Basseterre, St. Kitts: 28th February, 2013 – The Caribbean Research and Education Network, C@ribNET, a broadband fibre optic network constructed by Regional telco, LIME, was officially launched in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on February 26.
C@ribNET, which is managed by the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network, connects tertiary institutions, schools, hospitals and other educational establishments to
knowledge development and research platforms paving the way for enhanced interconnectivity and collaboration among Caribbean States.
It serves approximately twenty-six million people, in twenty one islands, who benefit from cost-effective access to high quality e-learning content and other knowledge resources from the region and around the world.
CaribNet is a project that’s been long in coming in terms of the scope that it has for the Caribbean,” said Chief Commercial Officer, LIME Caribbean, Chris Dehring.
Dehring said CaribNET has the potential to promote economic growth throughout the region and called for government and private sector support to ensure the network realises its full potential.
More focus is needed if education is going to be the key to unlock the potential of this region, particularly in the creative industry. We are an exceptionally creative people from an economical and commercial perspective,” he said.
The private sector needs to get involved because at the end of the day, the private sector is which benefits the most from these types of networks. It’s an eco-system and Government and every member of that eco-system have a part to play.”
Noting that only “about 26 per cent” of Caribbean nationals have high speed broadband Internet connectivity, Dehring said there was also need for better collaboration to overcome such challenges.
Miss Cathrin Stover, DANTE (Europe) makes a point to the panelists during the panel discussion at the official launch of CaribNET and the opening of the 2nd Assembly of NRENS. Listening are, from left, Mr Ken Sylvester, CKLN/CaribNet (Caribbean), Mr Chris Dehring, Chief Commercial Officer, LIME Caribbean, Dr Florencio Utreras, RedCLARA (Latin America),
Mr Dave Lambert, Internet2 (US), Professor Emeritus The Honourable Errol Miller and Dr Francis Tusubira, UbuntuNET Alliance (Africa).
When you compare it to North America and Europe which is up in the 70s and 80s you can’t help but think that the low penetration of Internet is part of the reason we are not progressing economically as we should,” he stated.
“What that also speaks to is the affordability of broadband. We need to address this.” The network, which costs ten million Euros, financed by the European Union, is connected to the world’s research and education community through AMPATH to North America, Geant to Europe and RedCLARA to Latin America.
The launch attracted a rare assembly of distinguished leaders, regional stakeholders and sponsors and brought together representatives of the Caribbean National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), leadership from the academic and research community, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), government, as well as representatives from international partners in Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe.
Professor Emeritus Errol Miller said the launch of CaribNET is a step in the right direction as it would serve to better connect like-minded people across the Caribbean without them having to leave their respective islands.
I see collaboration and connection in learning involving students and teachers and principals in schools, in urban and rural areas within their countries, in other islands, between colleges and across the region,” said Professor Miller.
I see CaribNET as a platform of connection of Caribbean people who in their formative years will particularly use the virtual online space to form inter-island friendships and cross country study groups…I see the conveying of Caribbean consciousness and Caribbean civilisation and culture.”
CARICOM mandated the establishment of CaribNET to be coordinated and managed by the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN)–a regional organisation established in 2012 to provide access to affordable digital technologies for building excellence in academic training, research and innovation, diversity and global engagement.