Writing On The Wahl #029 — Connectivity and commerce.
Today I am writing from my phone because my home internet has been down since 6 AM. I also experienced a frustrating and untimely outage yesterday. We all know the struggles of poor connectivity in Saint Lucia.
At one point, this would have been a mere inconvenience quickly brushed off as I move on with my day. But in modern times, it can mean the loss of revenue and bring my business to a standstill. While I am thankful to have a backup option in mobile data, that just doesn’t cut it.
To properly engage in the digital economy, we must have reliable high-speed connectivity with with reasonable or no limitations on data usage.
Our current PM was a member of the government when the telecommunications industry was liberalized. I hope he has it in his mission to do the same with internet service providers (ISP).
My PC does not have WiFi, or I would have used my phone as a hotspot. But I pay for a service and receive no compensation or consideration when it’s unavailable, so I do not believe I should have to invest in an upgrade to my equipment to mitigate the failure of my ISP. But the reality in Saint Lucia under a monopoly is that I must because the ISP doesn’t care about my inconvenience or loss of revenue until it noticeably affects their income.
The PM, being the Minister of the Youth Economy, ought to ensure this is addressed in he is to genuinely open up the digital economy, which is primarily the focus of young entrepreneurs. It will also be a significant factor in the success of a potential digital nomad visa program. People will not choose to reside and remotely work from Saint Lucia if they have to take extra measures to ensure they can meet their work or business obligation.
Reliable high-speed connectivity is a competitive advantage in a region that suffers from the symptoms of long-term monopolistic practices by telecom companies and ISP’s. Therefore this is not merely a matter for the PM but also his Deputy PM, the minister for investment. I could go further into explaining why Mr. Hilaire should be concerned, but my figures hurt from typing on my phone so I am ending todays blog here.
To be continued…