CARIBBEAN SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT COULD LOWER COSTS FOR BROADBAND SERVICES
CTU PRESS RELEASE
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, (31st January 2018) – Once properly managed, licensing the use of spectrum can bring millions of dollars into Governments’ coffers. As part of its mandate to manage regional coordination in this area of spectrum management, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) hosted a Workshop and Meeting of its Caribbean Spectrum Management Task Force at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain during the period 31st January to 2nd February 2018. This regional multi-stakeholder Task Force comprising government policy officials, regulators, academia, operators and industry players, supported by international experts, met to coordinate implementation of the Caribbean Spectrum Management Strategic Plan 2016 – 2018 (CSMSP), and begin preparations for the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19).
So what is spectrum management and how does it benefit the people of our region? Simply put, spectrum management refers to the administration and regulation of the range of radio frequencies used for wireless communications in order to promote its efficient and optimal use for the socioeconomic benefit of all. This management takes place at the national, regional and global levels since spectrum is used by mobile operators, TV and radio broadcasters, satellite service providers, internet network operators and others to provide services to all, facilitating mobility and thus greater access to ubiquitous communication.
With all this unseen wireless (over the air) activity hovering in the atmosphere, the harmonisation of spectrum planning and management policies and practices across the region is essential to digital development in the Caribbean. Without it, interference may occur when an unwanted radio frequency signal clashes with a desired radio signal, thereby degrading the quality of the services associated with both. Harmonisation would enable consequent regulatory and procedural changes that could potentially result in cost reductions for mobile broadband services. The significant cost reductions will promote the population’s adoption and usage of broadband and as a result, the Region’s advancement in the digital economy, which is critical to its economic and social development.
In keeping with the CTU’s recently launched 21st Century Government initiative, which is a key element of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) vision for a Single ICT Space in the Caribbean, wireless communication (enabled by spectrum use) in broadband development is vital to creating an ICT borderless space that will strengthen economic competitiveness and promote sustainable development.
Citing the critical need to establish the Single ICT Space, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU urged participants to reach a consensus on the best way forward to achieve the mission of the strategic plan (CSMSP) “to build a regionally cohesive, technically efficient and sustainable spectrum management regime that proactively meets the region’s requirements for broadband and socio-economic development and supports the establishment of a Single ICT Space in the Caribbean.”
The expected outcomes of the workshop were to review the status of implementation of the Caribbean Spectrum Management Strategic Plan and establish an action plan for 2018; assess the status of preparatory activities for the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19); incorporate appropriate action items into the Caribbean’s action plan for 2018 and plan next steps for achievement of the objectives of the 2018 action plan, were all achieved through the effective cooperation of all present.
The meeting was well attended by thirty-five participants that included representatives from regional and international organisations and interested bodies, including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), GSM Association, University of the West Indies (UWI) and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).
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The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to supporting the development of the Caribbean information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. The CTU also promotes coordination of ICT at the regional level, identifies and removes roadblocks to ICT development, keeps track of industry progress and responds to the needs of the ICT sector, all with the aim of creating a cohesive regional approach to an ICT agenda which embraces the needs of all stakeholders. The CTU is committed to ICT development that reaches the citizens of the region, creating affordable access to ICT and helping citizens to use ICT effectively to transform their lives.
For further information, please contact:
Caribbean Telecommunications Union
Tel: 1-868-628-0281, ext. 246