ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada: Grenada’s information and communications technology sector is better positioned to take advantage of the revolution in technology due to the launch of the Grenada’s Internet Exchange Point (GREX), the first such facility in the English-speaking Caribbean.
GREX allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Grenada to interconnect directly, locally, at no cost, rather than by purchasing expensive transit services from foreign ISPs. Grenada’s ISPs which take advantage of this interconnection at GREX to deliver their local traffic, will reduce the portion of their Internet traffic which must be delivered via their out-of-country transit providers.
Minister responsible for Information and Communication Technology, Senator Arley Gill, said the establishment of such Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) is essential to encouraging national development and technology-based economic growth.
“Establishing an Internet Exchange Point in Grenada is expected to bring several benefits for our government as well as for our citizens and business community,” said Gill.
GREX is a major achievement for the Caribbean island state of just over 100,000 residents. At the launch of GREX, several speakers said that over the next several months consumers could expect new services and improved quality for high-bandwidth applications such as peer-to-peer file sharing, online video and audio streaming and gaming. One of them was Dr. Spencer Thomas, Chairman of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) and a central figure in facilitating the process.
“We believe that encouraging development of Internet-based services, accelerating the development of Caribbean content and reaping social benefits from technology is dependent on reducing Internet connectivity and bandwidth costs and improving quality of service to all citizens. GREX is a key component to achieving our goals,” he said.
Dr. Thomas commended local ISPs, LIME and Columbus Communications, for working together to make the GREX initiative possible. He also praised Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and Bevil Wooding, an international expert with the U.S.-based non-profit organization, Packet Clearing House (PCH), for their role in the process.
CTU and PCH have embarked on a region-wide campaign to raise awareness and provide support for building national IXPs and developing critical Internet resources.
“The initiative to establish IXPs in the Caribbean has found ready support from regional governments and ISPs who are recognizing that IXPs must be deployed across the Caribbean if we are to develop the kind of domestic Internet economy necessary to spark new levels of indigenous innovation, local content creation and industry growth,” said Wooding.