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Boosting innovation through the Caribbean Advanced High Speed Network

The Inter-American Development Bank announced the approval of a US$650,000 grant from its Regional Public Goods Program to support the Caribbean Advanced High Speed Network (C@ribNET) to enhance the region’s connectivity and competitiveness.

C@ribNET is an advanced high-speed broadband network infrastructure interconnecting the national research and education networks of each Caribbean country, which in turn, interconnects the country’s higher education, research and development institutions.

“C@ribNET complements in the Caribbean what RedCLARA has recently achieved in Latin America with an advanced high-speed network that made remarkable advances in the interconnection of the national research and education networks in 16 countries,” explained IDB program coordinator Laura Bocalandro. The IDB has also financed through the Regional Public Goods Program the consolidation of the RedCLARA initiative.

“The digital gap in the region now represents a ‘development gap’. Few people in the region enjoy access to telecommunications and the Internet.  Those with access are faced with slower speeds and much higher costs than in the developed world,” said Bocalandro.  Only an integrated effort can lead to overcome poor connectivity among countries and very high cost communications, fundamental obstacles to regional integration among higher education and research institutions.”

The regional strategy for C@ribNET will include a blueprint and a business plan, as well as a regional toolbox to enhance common operational capabilities for managers and technicians involved with the network.  The Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) will carry out the program and Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago will participate in this project through their ministries of education or science and technology. 

“There are around 150 tertiary level institutions, universities, training and vocational colleges in the Caribbean. C@ribNET will offer them the opportunity to connect to each other and to international partners at greatly reduced costs, to develop online learning and to offer it to others in the region and beyond,” said Ken Sylvester, Chief Executive Officer of CKLN.

Launched by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States in 2004, the CKLN is a multilateral project, supported by the IDB and other international organizations.